Investor Protection in the NAFTA and Beyond: Private Interest and Public Purpose.


224 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 978-0-88806-653-8
DDC 382'.917





Edited by Alan S. Alexandroff
Reviewed by Graeme S. Mount

Graeme S. Mount is a history professor at Laurentian University and
author of Canada’s Enemies: Spies and Spying in the Peaceable Kingdom.


Canada may be in the process of deindustrialization. Hershey has moved its chocolate bar plant from Smith’s Falls, Ontario, to Mexico. General Motors has eliminated a shift at its Oshawa factory. Are Canadian jobs leaving for Mexico, with its lower wages, and for the United States, with its lower taxes? The European Union allows workers to cross international boundaries in search of employment, but the rules of NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) do not. What benefits, then, does NAFTA offer to individuals as distinct from corporations? If the impact is negative, why do Liberal as well as Conservative governments support it? The writers chosen by Alexandroff and the C.D. Howe Institute, itself a conservative think tank, offer answers, but only on one limited front: investors and their rights.


In a foreword, Jack M. Mintz—president and CEO of the C.D. Howe Institute—says that NAFTA was supposed to guarantee the resident of any NAFTA country the right to invest in any other NAFTA country and that NAFTA has fulfilled that purpose rather well. Using facts and figures as well as specific legal cases, most of the writers agree with Mintz, some more enthusiastically than others. The writers include professors from the University of Toronto (Alexandroff himself, Stephen Clarkson, Lewis W. Pauly), one professor emeritus from Dalhousie (Gilbert R. Winham), lawyers (Barry Appleton, Milos Barutciski, Ian Laird), a former Foreign Affairs Minister of Canada (Pierre Pettigrew), Canada’s Consul General in Buffalo (Stephen Brereton), and a counsellor with the World Trade Organization (John Hancock). Stephen Clarkson fears that NAFTA has “hijacked the Canadian Constitution,” and he contrasts NAFTA’s executive, legislative, and bureaucratic institutions unfavourably with those of the European Union. Professor Winham and Ian Laird also have reservations. The C.D. Howe Institute is to be commended for including contrary opinions.


Readers can examine the arguments and decide for themselves which contributors are the most credible. Hopefully, someone will follow with a book about NAFTA’s beneficial and harmful aspects overall.


“Investor Protection in the NAFTA and Beyond: Private Interest and Public Purpose.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 7, 2023,