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Assembled by Laurier LaPierre, Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, 1987. 259pp, paper, $5.95, ISBN 0-7710-4697-9. CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Neil V. Payne

Volume 16 Number 3
1988 May

If You Love This Country is a collection of forty-six brief essays opposing the free-trade deal between Canada and the U.S. that was signed by Prime Minister Mulroney and President Reagan in late October 1987. The book was quickly put together right after the signing and appeared before the final text of the agreement was available, so it deals with the large issues involved rather than with the fine details.

The book includes statements from most of the high-profile political, social, economic, and cultural critics of the deal-Atwood, Berton, Carr, Pothering-ham, Hurtig, Ignatieff, Landsberg, Laser, Newman, McClelland, Mowat, Suzuki and White.

The text won't resolve the free-trade debate for anyone, but it does provide a brief, easy-to-read, easy-to-understand statement of one side of the debate. It also provides an interesting insight into the points of view of many well-known Canadians and it includes, scattered throughout the book, many of the best anti-free-trade political cartoons from Canada's newspapers. It is also an entertaining and interesting book that can be opened at any point and enjoyed, since each article stands alone. For these reasons it is a very useful book. Unfortunately, the rush to get it into print resulted in several serious shortcomings. The book has no index, so finding arguments on particular issues will be difficult, and tracing related points from one article to another will be next to impossible. In addition, even the table of contents lists only the author of each item, with no clue as to the approach to the issue. However, the first page of each article gives a brief quote from the article that seems to hold the essence of the argument.

The free-trade debate is certainly the most important issue in Canadian politics since the Quebec referendum. Whichever way it is settled, it will largely determine Canada's future in every aspect of life. The debate needs far more information and exploration of possible effects than is now available. This book is the opening salvo from one side of the debate.

At $5.95, every library in Canada will want more than one copy of this book. I hope that a similar statement for the pro-free-trade argument will be available soon to provide librarians with the balance in sources so difficult to provide at present.

Neil V. Payne, Kingston Collegiate V.I. Kingston, Ont.
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