Canada Under American Dominion Essay

1667 words - 7 pages

The dawn of the 1970s brought forth a great change in the Canadian attitude towards economic relations with the United States. The oscillation of the Canadian economy, due to the Nixon Shock of 1971, greatly contributed to the rise of Canadian awareness regarding foreign investment; particularly increased trade dependence with the United States. As this awareness gradually began to present itself as paranoia, pressures fell on the government to pursue more nationalistic policies and mandates, which would eventually allow the nation to break free of American domination. Such attempts by the government included the Third Option Policy, the Foreign Investment Review Act (FIRA), and the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), all of which heavily relied on the compliance of the population to succeed. In the end, while it was the general intent of all Canadians to break free of American domination in the 1970s, the lack of national commitment to the respective mandates put in place by the Canadian government resulted in the failure of this plan.
The Third Option Policy was a mandate put into effect by the Canadian government to encourage the diversification of Canada’s external relations. This was to be done by scoping out and developing ties with economic markets outside North America, namely those of Japan and the European Community members. However, this policy was abandoned in less than a decade with talks of developing a free trade agreement with the United States, completely reversing the objective of the Third Option Policy. Some attribute the failure of the policy to the fact that it did not have the backing of the Canadian private sector, all of whom collectively felt that there were simply not enough incentives provided by the government to compensate for them having to balance the costs of expanding economic relations outside North American markets. As a result of their disagreement with the plan, economists noted that the proportion of Canadian exports going to the US stayed well over 65% throughout the 1970s, while the proportion of exports going to countries like Japan and members of the European Community changed infinitesimally in comparison, with numbers in the 8-10% range. (Mace and Hervouet 401) Nevertheless, it would be unreasonable to hold the Canadian private sector wholly responsible for the limited increase in economic dealings with Japan and the European Community members, as it was a well-known fact at the time that Europe was in “recovery mode”, battling high unemployment rates and soaring commodity prices (“oil shock”). Due to its feeble economic condition at the time, Europe was able to do nothing more for Canada than to maintain the status quo, which had decreased significantly since the end of World War Two. Japan’s foreign petroleum-dependent economy was in more or less the same condition of shambles and tatters, as it had been hit the hardest by the world oil crisis of 1973. Seeing conservation...

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