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Produced by Mae Burrows and Jef Keighley; directed by Mark Cameron

Repeal The Deal Productions, 1991. VHS cassette 28:00 min. / 60:00 min., $30.00 (individual), $50.00 (organiza­tional), $75.00 (institutional), includes video-print kit. $20.00 for videocassette only
Distributed by Repeal The Deal Productions, 211-456 W. Broadway, Vancouver, B.C. V5Y1R3

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up
Reviewed by Thomas F. Chambers

Volume 20 Number 1
1992 January

We Can Say No! is hosted by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke. Barlow is the chairperson of the Council of Canadians and Clarke is the chairperson of the Action Canada Network, two of the organizations most opposed to Canada's free trade deal with the United States. It is their conclusion that Canada has suffered greatly from this agreement and that the Mulroney government is destroying the country.

All of the arguments in this tape have been made before by Barlow on televi­sion and in her book, Parcel of Rogues. The tape could be used with her book to help illustrate the views of the anti-free trade forces. It is, however, not in the least objective and will confuse anyone seeking an objective discussion of free trade.

The tape begins with a series of interviews with people who are critical of free trade. This approach is the same as the one used by the government in much of their free trade propaganda before the 1988 election. It is just as misleading and is based on fear rather than logic.

The tape's biggest weakness is that it blames all of Canada's current economic woes on free trade, ignoring other things such as high interest rates and the U.S. recession, both of which have hurt Canadian business. It also offers no alternative to free trade or how Canada will survive on its own once the United States and Mexico enter into a new free trade agreement. Its strength is that is presents Barlow's views clearly. Her enthusiasm can't help but make viewers take a greater interest in the free trade issue.

Fighting Back is a tape of Edmonton publisher Mel Hurtig explaining why he believes free trade has hurt Canada. Hurtig is undoubtedly as sincere as Maude Barlow, but he hurts his presen­tation by speaking in a dull monotone. Few people could endure his boring style for more than a few minutes.

To try to illustrate the points he is making, Hurtig uses a series of graphs. This is an excellent idea, but, unfortu­nately, the graphs are so hard to read that they lose their effectiveness. The type on most of them is not sharp and only serves to confuse rather than clarify Hurtig's arguments. The volume of the data is also hard to assimilate.

Hurtig blames the loss of jobs in Canada totally on free trade. This ignores the difficulty exporters have had selling goods as a result of the strong Canadian dollar. It also ignores the addition of the GST and the increase in cross-border shopping, both of which have caused a significant drop in consumer spending in Canada.

Hurtig does digress from free trade to comment on the government's plans to decentralize Canada by giving more powers to the provinces. This political discussion is more clearly presented and is easier to follow, but it could easily be the subject of a separate program. Too little is said here to make it of much help to anyone concerned about the possible break-up of the country.

Thomas F. Chambers, Canadore College of Applied Arts and Technology, North Bay, Ont.
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