Changing Canada: Political Economy as Transformation

Description

498 pages
Contains Bibliography
$85.00
ISBN 0-7735-2530-0
DDC 971.064'8

Year

2003

Contributor

Edited by Wallace Clement and Leah F. Vosko
Reviewed by Graeme S. Mount

Graeme S. Mount is a professor of history at Laurentian University. He
is the author of Canada’s Enemies: Spies and Spying in the Peaceable
Kingdom, Chile and the Nazis, and The Diplomacy of War: The Case of
Korea.

Review

Clement and Vosko edited this collection of essays in the face of
neo-liberalism (a revival of laissez-faire) and the post–9/11
environment. Congratulations are in order.

Veteran economist Mel Watkins advises that globalization is neither new
nor inevitable, and that elected politicians need not resign themselves
to external forces beyond their control. Watkins’s wit is as sharp as
ever. Henry Kissinger, notes Watkins, has praised the ability of
Canadian politicians to balance the appearance of the defence of
Canadian interests without antagonizing U.S. authorities. At the same
time, Watkins suggests, Kissinger was probably guilty of war crimes in
Cambodia and Chile. “To be praised by Kissinger ... is to be damned by
decent folk.” Watkins also finds the 2000 presidential election
“victory” of George W. Bush “somewhere between a fluke and a
fix.” That Alberta should espouse neo-liberalism does not surprise
Watkins. That Ontario should vote twice for Mike Harris requires
explanation.

There are 18 other essays. Daniel Salée finds the attempts of Quebec
Premiers Bouchard and Landry to challenge neo-liberalism quite
inadequate. Joyce Green laments the history of Aboriginal-Canadian
relations and examines Inco’s negotiations concerning mining at
Voisey’s Bay, Labrador. Eric Helleiner provides a history of the
Canadian dollar and discusses interest in a North American Monetary
Union (NAMU), probably in the form of the adoption of the U.S. dollar as
Canada’s currency. Two factors, he says, have encouraged talk about
NAMU: the free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States, and Quebec
nationalism. If there were no Canadian dollar, Canada would appear of
little relevance to many Quebeckers when that province holds its next
referendum. Vincent Mosco discusses the perils of media mergers, of
which there have recently been several, and warns that the FTA and NAFTA
allow America Online (AOL), Time-Warner, and AT&T to crowd Canadian
companies out of the market. There are also articles on welfare state
restructuring, child care, pay equity, the status of women, cities,
ecology, labour, youth, and popular culture.

Everyone who cares about Canada’s future well-being should read this
book.

Citation

“Changing Canada: Political Economy as Transformation,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 1, 2022, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/15611.