By Santo Dodaro
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Additional resources for The Big Picture: The Antigonish Movement of Eastern Nova Scotia
Farmers sought protection through the establishment of political parties. Similarly, industrial workers sought to improve their lot by joining labour organizations and by forming their own political parties. There were also some initiatives that were more local. These efforts were generally sporadic and disjointed and had little direct impact. In some instances, however, they contributed to the establishment of some of the foundations for the Antigonish Movement. 62 This success was short-lived, as the party became discredited within two years.
As a consequence, they were able to enjoy better living conditions in terms of housing, diet, and the like, in addition to having relative social and political freedom. Moreover, under the leadership and financial support provided by the church, the Catholic communities established their own social, cultural, and educational institutions over time, and the same was true of other denominations as well. Although the history of the Acadians differs from that of the Scots and the Irish, their migration was in response to somewhat similar forces.
36 The much higher freight rates, and hence higher transportation costs, reduced the competitiveness of maritime products in the rest of Canada while also increasing the price of imports to the region, such as agricultural inputs, making an already precarious situation even worse. To some extent, the higher freight rates and the economic plight of the region as a whole were also a reflection of the increasingly diminished ability of the maritime region to protect its interests through the political process.