Free trade has been a highly contentious issue since the Conservative government of Brian Mulroney negotiated the first deal with the United States in the 1980s. Tracing the roots of Canada's contemporary involvement in North American free trade back to the Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada in 1985 - also known as the Macdonald Commission - Gregory J. Inwood offers a critical examination of the commission and how its findings affected Canada's political and economic landscape, including its present-day reverberations. Using original research - including content analysis, interviews, archival information, and surveys of relevant literature - Inwood argues that the Macdonald Commission created an atmosphere and political discourse that made the continentalization of Canada possible by way of free trade agreements with the U.S. and Mexico. Through the use of a suspect research program, and with the aid of a select oligarchy within the Commission and the government bureaucracy, opposition to continentalism from both the majority of the Canadian population and even several commissioners was ignored.
Accessible to readers interested in Canadian politics, policy, or economy, Continentalizing Canada offers a thorough examination into the Macdonald Commission and the resulting discourse in the Canadian political economy.
Gregory J. Inwood is a professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University.