Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Continentalizing Canada: The Politics and Legacy of the Macdonald Royal Commission

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Continentalizing Canada: The Politics and Legacy of the Macdonald Royal Commission

Article excerpt

Gregory J. Inwood, Continentalizing Canada: The Politics and Legacy of the Macdonald Royal Commission (Toronto: University of Toronto, 2005), 471 pp. incl. index and bibliography. Cloth. $75 CAN. ISBN 0-8020-8729-9.

This book is a welcome addition to the debate surrounding the Canadian acceptance of continental free trade in the 1980s. It provides needed insight into the deliberations and research of the Macdonald Commission whose final report helped persuade the Mulroney government to open up formal free trade talks with the Reagan administration. Given that the Commission had been appointed by Pierre Trudeau and its chair, Donald Macdonald, was a major Liberal Party figure, acceptance of its central recommendation was a striking development for modern Canadian political economy. Inwood opens the door on the Commission's activities and seeks the genesis of the free trade recommendation.

How did the Commission come to its main recommendation and what sorts of factors led to this outcome? How did the pro-free trade position triumph? Inwood proceeds in terms of political economy debates about the role of governments in the economy. In fact, this book is the latest addition to the publisher's series of Studies in Comparative Political Economy and Public Policy. One feature of Inwood's research warranting acknowledgement is his extensive collection of interviews with the Commission's key players, including not only the commissioners themselves but also its research and administrative leaders. Readers may opt to begin by perusing Appendix C which lists the people interviewed. Inwood's analysis leads him to emphasise the influence of Commission Chair Macdonald and the unity of outlook shared by the economists consulted. …

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