As free trade talks continue uncertainly, as Ottawa and Washington toss protective tariffs at each other's goods, and as the provinces continue to disagree among themselves and with the federal government, the search for a national economic policy goes on. A critical element in that search is the balance between regional needs and federal priorities.
Peter Leslie's interpretive essay provides a context in which to view the political and economic forces that make up that delicate balance, including those highlighted in the report of the Macdonald Commission. He discusses the nature of Canada's federal system and its relevance to policy, especially in the economic sphere, where differential effects among regions are often difficult to avoid.
Leslie offers a thoughtful appraisal of a historically complex set of relationships and suggests the ways in which it will determine strategy in an area that will continue to occupy political centre-stage in Canada for some time to come.
About the author
PETER LESLIE is director of the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations at Queen's University.