The hollowing out of many of Canada's small towns, especially on the Prairies, is forcing some difficult choices.
Once vibrant communities have seen their populations shrink as people migrate to large cities in search of jobs and better services. Towns that once had their own banks, post offices, fire departments and commercial sectors have become shells. Their tax bases have shrunk accordingly.
Manitoba has taken a drastic step of ordering all municipalities with populations of less than 1,000 to amalgamate with larger communities before next year's municipal elections.
Amalgamation has a long tradition in Canada as a way of consolidating the tax base and eliminating costly duplication of services such as police, fire, water, sewer and garbage collection. It's not uncontroversial, as some communities see their identities fade away and residents complain of services being eroded.
The Manitoba government said its policy covers almost half the province's 196 municipalities, the Winnipeg FreeRead More »from Manitoba’s small communities push back against force amalgamation plans