Free Trade provides a historical framework for ongoing discussion of economic and environmental issues. While there is empirical evidence on trade flows - they increased dramatically in both directions - the debate on related issues continues. The impact of free trade on jobs and manufacturing productivity, the effectiveness of dispute settlement, the growth of foreign direct investment, the absence of adjustment programs, and the consequences for social programs are all issues for spirited discussion.
Many of the leading actors in shaping both the FTA and NAFTA participated in the conference, including former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, former President George Bush, former U.S. Treasury Secretary and Secretary of State James Baker, former Canadian Trade Ministers John Crosbie and Michael Wilson, former U.S. Trade Ambassadors Clayton Yeutter and Carla Hills, as well as former Mexican Trade Minister Jaime Serra Puche. Other senior officials included Canada's Derek Burney and Simon Reisman. Donald S. Macdonald, chairman of the landmark Royal Commission that recommended the "leap of faith" of free trade, gave the keynote address.
A Royal Bank of Canada impact study, "Two Cheers for the FTA," provided a baseline for discussion by a panel of eminent economists from all three NAFTA countries, and strong defences of positions against free trade included presentations by Andrew Jackson of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), Jim Stanford of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW), and Gerald Larose of Quebec's Conseil des syndicats nationaux (CSN). Participants from the provinces included former Ontario Premier Bob Rae, while NAFTA and the environment were considered by a panel led by former Quebec Premier Pierre Marc Johnson and joined by Quebec Liberal Leader Jean Charest. Other participants included Jean Anderson, Laurent Beaudoin, Fernando Clavijo, Thomas d'Aquino, William Dymond, Francis Fox, Jonathan Fried, Michael Hart, Stanley Hartt, Richard Lipsey, Victor Lichtinger, John McCallum, Peter McPherson, Jacques Ménard, William Merkin, Simon Potter, Charles E. Roh, David Schorr, Charles Sirois, Guy Stanley, Yvonne Stinson, Peter Watson, William Watson, L.R. Wilson, and Paul Wonnacott.
Free Trade: Risks and Rewards is an important reminder of why the issue was so passionately debated at the time and why it remains important.
About the authors
Ian Macdonald was born and educated in Glasgow and worked for several years on Scottish newspapers before moving to Canada. He was a reporter in Ontario and Alberta before finding his way to the West Coast where he worked on the Victoria Colonist, the Vancouver Province and the Vancouver Sun. He was Ottawa correspondent for the Sun for five years before becoming press officer for Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. He made an award-winning documentary film, and then turned seriously to the writing of history. Betty O'Keefe was born in Vancouver and wrote for the Province newspaper for several years. She then moved into the field of public relations as a consultant and later as supervisor of communications for a large Canadian corporation. In 1988 she opened her own communications company, but decided that her real interest was in writing history. Together, Betty O’Keefe and Ian Macdonald have co-authored a dozen books.
DESMOND MORTON is professor of history at the University of Toronto and principal of Erindale College. He is the author of ministers and Generals: Politics and the Canadian militia, 1868-1904, A Peculiar Kind of Politics: Canada’s Overseas Ministry in the First World War, A Campaign (with J.L. Granatstein), and numerous other books.
Other titles by Ian MacDonald
boundary sequence illusion
Ian MacDonald Architect
The Legacy of Early Victoria's Bishop Edward and Mary Cridge
Politics, People, and Pot-Pourri
Disaster on Mount Slesse
The Story of Western Canada's Worst Air Crash
Dr. Fred and the Spanish Lady
Fighting the Killer Flu
Born to Die
A Cop Killer's Final Message
From Bourassa to Bourassa
Wilderness to Restoration
The Story of Alexander Duncan McRae
Other titles by Desmond Morton
A Short History of Canada
Fight or Pay
Soldiers' Families in the Great War
A Military History of Canada
and other recent cartoons by Aislin
The Mystery of Frankenberg's Canadian Airman
Revised and Expanded Edition
Canada and the Two World Wars
A Millennium Portrait
An Illustrated History of the Canadian Labour Movement
United Nations, The
Its History and the Canadians Who Shaped It
When Your Number's Up
The Canadian Soldier in the First World War