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Clarkson, Stephen.

New updated ed. Toronto, James Lorimer, c1985. 431pp.paper, ISBN 0-88862-791-2 (cloth) $26.95, 0-88862-7904 (paper) $16.95. CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by Howard Hurt

Volume 13 Number 6
1985 November

The National Policy of John A. Macdonald created an economic bulwark behind which time and immigration could form a viable nation. Eighty years later, the bilateral relationship fashioned by C.D. Howe won a privileged position for Canada as a supplier for the American market in return for providing a safe haven for investment capital and understanding in matters of defence and foreign relations.

There is no question that these policies served us well. Against great odds Canada became an independent nation able to play a remarkably dynamic role on the international scene. Thanks to massive infusions of investment and technology, we were also able to enjoy an American standard of living without building an independent industrial base.

There was, of course, a price to be paid for this profligacy, and, by the end of the 1970s, the bills were coming in. Our branch plant economy was largely American controlled (81% in the case of petroleum). We suffered a deficit in manufacturing goods with every trading partner. Seventy-four per cent of our imports were manufactured. Employment refused to respond to monetary or fiscal tinkering. It was also becoming clear that Americans were determined to create non-tariff barriers to protect their interests. Indeed, even sectors of the economy regulated by bilateral agreements were in trouble because industries were rapidly establishing themselves internationally. When Reagan's nationalistic Republicans stormed the White House the stage was set for confrontation. It came when Trudeau's resurrected government found its own form of nationalism and brought forth the National Energy Program (NEP) and the Foreign Investment Review Agency (FIRA). American reaction was intemperate, and aggressive congressmen soon forced the political battle zone to such fronts as defence, the United Nations, fisheries, environmental pollution, and public broadcasting. Considering the harmonious relations of the past, the term, "crisis," was undoubtedly justified.

It is at this point that Stephen Clarkson, a political scientist from the University of Toronto, takes up his examination of Canadian-American relations. It is a penetrating analysis with a foundation of painstaking scholarship. His preparatory work included over two hundred interviews and an exhaustive document search that resulted in more than thirty pages of explanatory notes. The style, however, is that of the investigative journalist. In no way is it pretentiously academic.

This revised edition was written to let the author explore his thesis that Mulroney, a very Americanized prime minister, has given the green light for colleagues such as Michael Wilson and Sinclair Stevens to shape policies according to continental priorities in the hope that the United States will once more grant us special economic consideration. His treatise duals in detail with specific events of only one decade, but it poses problems that are seminal to the very existence of an independent Canada. Perhaps all that really needs to be said is that the book is dedicated to the Honourable Walter L. Gordon. That automatically makes it essential reading for any serious Canadian nationalist, it is a must for every college, public, and senior high school library in Canada.

Howard Hurt, Curriculum Laboratory, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.
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