Agriculture has historically been a critical and sensitive area in the Canadian economy. Grace Skogstad presents a detailed study of how agricultural policy has been made in recent years at the federal provincial levels. Three initiatives serve as the focus: income stabilization – a sphere in which the two levels share jurisdiction and responsibility; marketing of commodities – in which federal and provincial governments designate a national agency and provincial boards to act as their agents and the transportation of western grain – a federal responsibility.
The transportation of western grain, traditionally subsided through the mechanism of the Crow’s Nest rates, has been the cause of frequent controversy in Canadian politics. Skogstad provides an in-depth analysis of the long and painful process of ‘revising the Crow’ that preoccupied so many politicians and farmers through much of the 1970s and 1980s.
From her three case studies emerges a well-defined analysis of the processes of policy-making and roles of the various participants. Skogstad illustrates the origins of federal-provincial as well as interprovincial disagreements. She considers the incentives which can lead governmental units toward a co-operative solution to their differences, and questions whether federalism has contributed the problem of framing a coherent agricultural policy.
About the author
Grace Skogstad is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto.