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Peter Foster.

Toronto, Collins, c1982.
287pp, cloth, $24.95.
ISBN 0-00-217025-6.

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by Graham A. Draper.

Volume 11 Number 3.
1983 May.

The research for The Sorcerer's Apprentices consisted of personal interviews by the author with many people involved in the oil industry, including the government, academics, and businessmen. This book, a sequel to The Blue-Eyed Sheiks,* attempts to assess the impact of the National Energy Program on the oil industry, and Canadians in general.

Foster maintains that the NEP was cooked up by bureaucrats in Ottawa to advance their own aims and political perspectives. He sees this program as a monstrous scheme where the bureaucracy has manipulated the voters of the country, the elected officials, and the oil industry. The most worrisome part of this scheme is that it has been developed by people who do not have the insight to see the long-term consequences of their actions. As Foster states:

         The men who framed the National Energy
         Program seem like nothing so much as
         Sorcerer's Apprentices, allowed to
         exercise powers they did not fully
         understand, could not control and
         which, in the end, were bound to
         overwhelm both themselves and their
         political masters.

The author has taken a very pro-industry, anti-centralized government viewpoint in this book. He argues that the government ought not to be involved in the oil industry that decisions about the industry should be left to the people who know more about it. In other words, leave decisions about the oil industry to the oil industry. Clearly he has not attempted to logically analyse the NEP but has set out to promote his own perspective.

In reading this book, one has to take sides, either agree or disagree. The language, style, and content provoke discussion and consideration. In format, the book is not academic and contains few footnotes or chapter notes. References are given in an informal manner. Interesting reading, but the inherent bias may cause problems.

*Reviewed vol. VIII/3 Summer 1980 p.189.

Graham A. Draper, Central Algoma S. S., Desbarats, ON.
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