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James Laxer.

Toronto, James Lorimer, c1983.
(Canadian Issues).
221pp, paper, $5.95.
ISBN 0-88862-541-3.

Reviewed by George Gereben.

Volume 11 Number 6.
1983 November.

For more than a decade, the oil industry and energy policy have been a central issue in Canadian economic and political life. Laxer offers an excellent overview of the past ten years of the ever-changing face of this complex industry. He focuses on the stormy developments of the years since 1973, dealing with such topics as the National Energy Program, the collapse of the megaprojects, the controversial birth of Petrocan, and the prospects for the future of arctic and offshore oil production.

In a clear, concise manner, Laxer deals with the decade that saw Canadian energy policies change to meet the dramatic rise of OPEC and the government's failure to see the signs of OPEC's fall and alter policies to meet it.

The main players on the Canadian oil stage are identified by Laxer as Ottawa, the oil-producing provinces, and the major oil companies. He deals well with the turbulent relationships that develop between these as the world oil situation changes. As Laxer puts it, for the first time, provincial policy changed from passive to regionalistic, challenging federal authority over energy. He examines the federal-provincial energy agreements, their terms, timing, and results.

He does not study the Canadian oil industry as an isolated entity, but as part of and in relation to outside influences, the major of these being OPEC. He also looks at the history and development of the industry from its beginnings in the 1850s near Sarnia to the future possibilities for the industry.

James Laxer is an associate professor of political science at Atkinson College, York University. He is well versed on the industry and writes a book geared to economic and/or history students at an advanced grade 12 or 13 level. Those at the university level will also find the book useful and informative.

George Gereben, Queen Elizabeth H. S., Sioux Lookout, ON.
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