False God: How the Globalization Myth Has Impoverished Canada


141 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 1-895555-09-4
DDC 330.971






Reviewed by Graham Adams, Jr.

Graham Adams, Jr., is a professor of American history at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick.


Few issues in recent Canadian politics have stimulated such controversy
as that of free trade. It played an important role in two federal
elections, and James Laxer considers it a matter of overriding
importance for Canada.

Starting in 1984, Laxer writes, Canada discarded its traditional
policies and ventured into the unchartered seas of “global”
economics. Mulroney’s Conservatives saw their nation challenged by
unprecedented competition from Japan and other Asian nations, as well as
from the European Community. In order to survive, Canada (in their
judgment) had to cut the costs of labor and social/economic programs
while giving business tax breaks and subsidies. It also had to adopt
American techniques and integrate its economy into the American system
via free trade.

According to Laxer, however, America is on the decline. Its growth rate
remains sluggish, it has lost its leadership in technology and business
management, and it has become a debtor nation. American education has
deteriorated, race relations verge on civil war, crime stalks every
city, and the gap between rich and poor widens each year. The author
gives less emphasis to the fact that Canada has a higher unemployment
rate, a higher per capita debt, and that it faces the possibility of an
imminent breakup of the country.

To survive, Laxer argues, Canada must abrogate the Free Trade
Agreement. He is confident that Canada could go it alone amid huge
economic blocs in Europe, Asia, and the Western hemisphere. Is this a
formula for nationalism or a blueprint for disaster? Whichever the case,
the reality is that free trade is here to stay. While separatists
assiduously work to destroy Confederation, Laxer would have us believe
that America poses the greatest threat to Canada.


Laxer, James., “False God: How the Globalization Myth Has Impoverished Canada,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/13690.