Bringing Municipalities into Rural Community and Economic Development: Cases from Atlantic Canada


  • Tamara A Krawchenko Mount Saint Vincent University


In rural development literature, subsidiarity and the merits of local community participation are increasingly extolled. Targeted, nationally-derived sectoral (e.g., agricultural) policies and subsidies are increasingly rejected for a more inclusive, place-based, partnership-driven, community-led, and investment-oriented approach to rural development. This shift can be seen across OECD countries and has been lauded by the organization as 'a new paradigm for rural development.' As such, rural development is conceptualized as a process that emanates from the local level, involving a variety of stakeholders in decision making, such that policy development is viewed as more participatory, reflective of and responsive to community needs. Given this, what role (and capacity) might there be for municipalities to meaningfully engage in rural development activities? This paper examines this question through a case study of two rural Atlantic Canadian communities. In doing so, it finds that these two rural municipalities are institutionally constrained from engaging in rural development initiatives and that provincial and federal funders are focused on economic, rather than community, development. It is argued that municipal capacity needs to be greatly enhanced through institutionalized mechanisms in order for them to become meaningful partners in the development process. Keywords: Atlantic Canada; rural municipalities; new regionalism; community economic development; endogenous development

Author Biography

Tamara A Krawchenko, Mount Saint Vincent University

Dr. Tamara Krawchenko is presently a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellow at Mount Saint Vincent University’s Department of Family Studies and Gerontology. Her present area of research examines how the issue of population aging is discursively constructed within public policy and acted upon. This work follows on an Atlantic Canada Opportunities Development Agency (ACOA) funded project that examines community and economic development practices across four rural Atlantic Canadian Communities. Dr. Krawchenko graduated with a Doctorate in Public Policy and Political Economy from Carleton’s School of Public Policy in 2012. She has a diverse research background, having worked on such topics as urban-regional governance, infrastructure development, economic stimulus and regulatory reform. A common theme linking her various research interests are a focus on the role of institutions and history in mediating and shaping behavior and outcomes as well at the importance of governance structures. Recent publications include: “Crisis and opportunism: Public finances from stimulus to austerity in Canada” with Christopher Stoney (2013) in Carlo Fanelli, Chris Hurl, Priscillia Lefebvre & Gülden Özcan eds., Great Recession-Proof? Shattering the Myth of Canadian Exceptionalism and “Transparency and Accountability in Infrastructure Stimulus Spending: A Comparison of Canadian, Australian and US Programs,” also with Chrtopher Stoney (2013) in Canadian Public Administration.