Breaking the Shackles: Deregulating Canadian Industry
Randall White is the author of Voice of Region: On the Long Journey to
Senate Reform in Canada and Too Good to Be True: Toronto in the 1920s.
This collection of nine academic papers, originally presented at a
University of Lethbridge conference in September 1989, was subsidized in
part by the Burns Foods Endowment Fund. It could be argued that
subsequent changes in the Canadian political and economic climate make
most of the papers less interesting than they were in 1989, and the mood
of Breaking the Shackles does exude a little more raw free-market
ideological enthusiasm than seems altogether convincing in the middle of
the 1990s. The wider “deregulation movement,” however, began in the
United States during the era of Jimmy Carter, not Ronald Reagan; there
are at least a few reasons for believing that it will continue to have
some significance in the era of Jean Chrétien.
The volume begins with two attempts to illuminate the broader political
and theoretical background, followed by discussions of seven particular
sectors: finance, telecommunications, truck and rail transportation,
airlines, the petroleum industry, agriculture, and housing. Inevitably,
some of the papers are somewhat dated. Thomas Courchene’s presentation
on financial deregulation features his characteristic intellectual élan
and grasp of the continuing complexities of Canadian federalism.
Lawrence Smith’s “Rent Control and a Program for Decontrol in
Ontario” could have some fresh practical relevance should Ontario’s
first NDP government confirm the predictions of most pundits and fail to
win a second election.