THE FREE TRADE DEAL: INDEPENDENT AND AUTHORITATIVE ASSESSMENTS OF THE AGREEMENT AND ITS IMPACT ON BUSINESS, JOBS AND CANADA'S FUTURE.
Edited by Duncan Cameron, Toronto, James Lorimer. 1988. 250pp. paper. ISBN 1-55028-076-7 (cloth) $29.95, 1-55028-074-0 (paper) $16.95. CIP
Volume 17 Number 1
Most businessmen and economists enthusiastically support free trade but they often couch their support in platitudinous propaganda that sets off warning bells for mistrustful neutralists. It seems odd that experts are asking that we accept this new way as an act of faith while less technically equipped leftists are hitting with disturbing facts and logic.
The Free Trade Deal is an example of the convincing rebuttals of the glib assurances offered by captains of industry. The editor and contributors include competent and well-known names from the worlds of academia, law, labour and journalism but not, of course, from business. The twenty-one essays are single minded in their condemnation of the free trade scheme but deserve top marks for expository style and the ordering of facts.
The editor is undoubtedly correct in his assertion that even well-informed Canadians have no real understanding of how the deal was struck, the way the Canada-U.S. Trade Commission will work or the far-reaching implications of many complex clauses. A worst-case scenario, presumably, would see Canada being extinguished as a sovereign nation. In the short run that is unlikely, but, after reading twenty chapters spelling out the potential for disaster on a sector-by-sector basis, I find it more than a little difficult to remain sanguine.
We are at a turning point in our history and it will be important to have a record of arguments for both sides. It would be hard to find a better record of the negative.
Howard Hurt, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.
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