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Edited by Jim Sinclair
Vancouver, New Star Books, 1992. 188pp, paper, $15.95, ISBN 0-921586-04-3. CIP

Grade 10 and up/Ages 15 and up

Reviewed by Thomas F. Chamber

Volume 20 Number 5
1992 October

Crossing the Line is a collection of fifteen anti-free-trade articles by Canadian, American and Mexican writers. It has very little to do with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), since it was published before the agreement was signed and the details made public. Most of the articles deal with the problems, real and/or imagined, created by the free trade agreement (FTA) between Canada and the United States. The title is therefore misleading and the book will be of no use to anyone hoping to learn about the terms of NAFTA.

This book is easy to read and is illustrated with tables, graphs and photographs that support the writers' points of view. It should be used with care, however, by anyone not familiar with the free trade agreement and the state of the North American and global economies. Statements are made which are not always supported by facts. Many are emotional, not rational. They are therefore misleading and could confuse younger readers.

Some of the economic discussion is also woefully inadequate. The statement is made, for example, that "Canada's economy is a service economy, yet this is not reflected in our trade figures." Such inaccuracies weaken the value of the book. Many of the statistics used are from the 1980s and are not relevant to the 1990s. There is nothing about NAFTA except speculation. This book is a collection of articles critical of the free trade agreement between Canada and the United States and is not recommended for knowledge of the larger agreement, which includes Mexico.

Thomas F. Chamber is a professor of economics and political science at Canadore College of Applied Arts and Technology in North Bay, Ontario

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