Ties That Bind: Canada and the Third World


240 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 0-919946-22-4





Edited by Richard Swift and Robert Clarke, with the Development Education Centre

Pradip Sarbadhikari is a political science professor at Lakehead
University in Thunder Bay.


This book does honour to development studies in Canada. It is admittedly a bold and critical view of Canada’s development policy. But it also implies the need for alternative policies and comes across as a refreshing change from traditional perspectives of Canada’s relations with the Third World. The underlying thesis is that Canada’s present linkages facilitate national or special interests rather than helping developing states to break the ring of underdevelopment encircling them. The material is presented in a lucid, readable style with impressive references and useful data. It would appeal to general readers, development specialists, and students — from high school to university.

The book is divided into five parts: Part I, by Richard Swift, deals with the main linkages of Canada’s policy (agribusiness and arms economy) and serves as a useful introduction. Here the impact on the price and availability of food is carefully examined, along with the militarization of Third World governments and the West’s complicity in this economic distortion in the name of development. Part II is concerned with the North-South debate. Here again the author, Brian Tomlinson, is critical of the liberal-structural approach to North-South relations and writes, “Many of the Brandt and Task Force proposals to reform the I.M.F. system ... are those which in fact will improve the position of the private lenders ....” Part III, by D’Arcy Martin, concentrates on the Transnational Corporation. This chapter summarizes the main problems Third World countries encounter when “facing the Octopus” (p. 87) and covers a broad sweep from resource industries to the impact of microelectronics. Part IV, Foreign Aid and C.I.D.A., discloses how aid rhetoric and aid performance “have gone in opposite directions.” The contemporary posture is summed up as follows: “In harmony with the new cold war mentality of the Reagan administration in Washington, the Liberal Government in Ottawa is increasing aid giving for the Caribbean and S.E. Asia in a conscious effort to contain social and political unrest. To bolster the sagging Canadian economy, C.I.D.A.’s expanded budget for the 1980’s is limited to export promotion objectives ...” (p. 199). Finally, in Part V, Michael T. Klare of the prestigious Institute for Policy Studies in Washington writes about the role of militarism. Klare, drawing on his extensive research in the field, makes a strong plea for dismantling the trade in arms: “such a trade and the values that work alongside it are not only incompatible with development in any meaningful sense but ultimately with human survival itself’ (p. 224).

Editors Richard Swift and Robert Clarke, both staff members of the Development Education Centre, and the publisher, Between the Lines, should be congratulated for a humanistic and realistic study of an area that is of increasing concern to Canadians and international development scholars.


“Ties That Bind: Canada and the Third World,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed September 23, 2023, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/38910.