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Author Topic: Western Canada and free trade with the U.S. in the 1911 and 1988 elections  (Read 2338 times)
PASOK Leader Hashemite
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« on: December 01, 2011, 03:19:50 pm »
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I'd be grateful if anyone would take the time to read my term paper for NorthAm relations on this fascinating topic. Not that I'd be offended if nobody read it...

In the last one hundred years, two federal elections were fought almost exclusively on the single issue of free trade or a “north-south” relationship with the United States. In the 1911 federal election, Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s Liberal government fought the election on the proposed Canada-United States Reciprocity Treaty but was defeated by Sir Robert Borden’s Conservatives who opposed the treaty. In the 1988 federal election, Brian Mulroney’s Progressive Conservatives fought and won (albeit with less than a majority of the votes – 43%) the election on the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement (FTA). In one case, the election ended in a defeat for partisans of a north-south axis, while in the other the election led to the realignment of the Canadian economy along this same north-south axis. However, in both elections, the provinces of Western Canada – defined here as the interior provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta – voted in favour of freer trade with the southern neighbor, and one province, Alberta, was particularly unambiguous in both 1911 and 1988 in its support for the party of freer trade in those respective elections. This paper seeks to analyze, compare and contrast the various reasons which led western Canada to support free trade in both instances. This paper will conclude that while basic sectional alienation played a role in the west’s support of the north-south axis in both elections, the main economic motivators in these two elections were very different, highlighting the economic evolution of these regions as well as their evolving attitude towards both Ottawa and Washington. To reach this conclusion, this paper will analyze the 1911 election, the 1988 election and finally critically compare and contrast the arguments used in favour of freer trade by western Canadians one hundred years ago and twenty-three years ago.
   Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s Liberals lost the 1911 election by a large margin to the protectionist Conservatives; a Liberal majority of 50 became a Conservative majority of 47.  However, western Canada went the other way: the Liberals won 17 out of 27 seats in the Prairies including 9 of 10 seats in Saskatchewan and 6 of 7 seats in Alberta.  What is more, in Alberta, the Conservatives actually lost nearly 2 percentage points compared to the previous federal election in 1908.  The election widened sectional divisions within English Canada, as Ontario went solidly Conservative (with 73 out of 86 seats) , guaranteeing Borden’s victory, while Alberta and Saskatchewan went solidly Liberal and in favour of freer trade.
   Western Canada was settled in the late nineteenth century and developed through the means of the transcontinental railway with the goal of enriching eastern and central Canada.  From the start, therefore, western Canada was envisioned by the political and economic core of the country as being a resource hinterland (or ‘periphery’) and a lucrative market for manufactured goods from eastern Canada.  In its relations with the core, western Canada was hindered by a number of sectional handicaps such as geographic separation from the east by the Canadian Shield, a continental climate with little rain and a flat terrain and relatively undiversified natural resources.  In addition, the settlers of western Canada exploited the land under conditions of exceptional severity including high material and human costs. This contributed to make it a debtor region: borrowing heavily, not always wisely, with heavy and fixed charges under a variable income base.  By 1911, this had made western Canada acutely aware of and sensitive to its economic and political disabilities. As a periphery region opposed to the core, it was left economically disabled. Sir John A. Macdonald’s National Policy of 1879 is the most striking example of how the west was left disadvantaged at the expense of the bourgeoning manufacturing industries in Ontario and Quebec. The National Policy imposed a high tariff wall to protect these central Canadian manufacturing industries from foreign competition and helped build an independent Canadian economy.  The National Policy helped Ontario, but placed western Canada’s grain growers at a disadvantage because it forced them to buy necessities of life in the Canadian market at prices which were hardly competitive. Its income, based on the sale of its produce, was determined by the world market (western produce was not protected by the tariff) but its purchases were at artificially high prices sheltered from foreign competition by the high tariff.  Another of the western farmer’s economic disabilities had been the growth of trusts which monopolized such critical sectors such as transportation (railroads), but most importantly grain elevators and abattoirs.  The result of this state of affairs was that, in general, the grain grower sold on a buyer’s market and bought on a seller’s market; and was placed in a weak position when wheat prices fell and costs of goods and transportation – like in 1909 – increased.  By 1911, because of the conjecture, the top demand of the increasingly organized western farmers’ movement had been the lowering of the tariff.
   The 1911 Reciprocity Treaty was presented by the Liberals because of its inherent advantages in it for western farmers. In a letter, William L. Mackenize King wrote that the treaty would mean increased prosperity for all those engaged in “agricultural pursuits” and would also prevent through increased competition the growth of trusts which sought to monopolize raw materials and farm products – another vexation for western farmers.  By embracing reciprocity and the demands of the west, the Liberals seemed to return to Laurier’s pronouncement in 1894 that the “tariff is bondage.”  While the agrarian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan embraced reciprocity, free access for Canadian producers to US markets and the north-south axis, it was rejected by the rest of Canada. By 1911, according to J.M.S. Careless, the east-west system was working effectively for most and the issue of a north-south system was not pressing.  Furthermore, the east-west system had benefited railroads, manufacturers (especially manufacturers of farm implements) and middlemen and a north-south system was not only an injury to lingering anti-American sentiment but also an economic wound for those who benefited from high tariffs.  Even the “western” province of Manitoba, which had been settled earlier by settlers of British stock and whose economy depended more heavily on ties to Ontario, the railroads and east-west trade, rejected reciprocity.  The defeat of reciprocity, the victory of British pride, nationalism and organized interests, was bitterly received in the West. The Grain Growers’ Guide wrote following the election that “the West must bow to Ontario.”  Resentment was also focused at the organized manufacturing interests of Ontario. John W. Dafoe wrote that the electors recognized “the right of corporations, moneyed interests […] to determine the policy of this country” and, about Laurier’s reciprocity policy, that “the interests combined and crushed him.”  The defeat of reciprocity in 1911 had sown the first seeds of western alienation vis-à-vis central Canada, an attitude which was central in western Canada’s attitude over 70 years later in the next free-trade election in 1988.
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« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2011, 03:21:05 pm »
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In the 1988 federal election, fought on the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Brian Mulroney’s Progressive Conservatives were reelected to a majority government although the Liberals and New Democrats, which opposed the FTA, won more votes combined than the 43% won by the pro-FTA Conservatives. In the 1988 election, Mulroney’s victory was created by the joint alliance of Quebec and western Canada.  In the three western provinces, the Conservatives won 36 out of 54 seats including all but one of Alberta’s 26 seats. Although Saskatchewan and Manitoba were not as heavily in favour, in both of these provinces constituencies along the American border elected only Conservative members.  The Premiers of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan all vocally supported the FTA. 
   The debate over free trade in 1988 took place in the context of the Meech Lake constitutional debate and with the recent memory of Pierre Trudeau’s National Energy Program (NEP) of 1980. Meech Lake entailed a shift of power from a nation-centered political community towards province-centered communities, while the FTA entailed a shift towards the continental marketplace and still away from the federal government.  Together, both Meech and the FTA constrained the federal government in one way or another, thus it is hardly surprising that those who opposed Meech generally opposed the FTA as two threats to the nation or federal-centered Canadian political community.  In the west, the idea of moving power away from Ottawa was a popular refrain and one which played a large part in the FTA debate. According to Don Getty, the then-Premier of Alberta, the FTA was good for Alberta because it would tie the hands of the federal government while the free market and Washington would provide the west the protection from the centralist tendencies of the core which parliamentary institutions had failed to provide.  In a symbolic quote, Getty said that because of the FTA “no one is ever going to shove anything down Alberta’s throat again.”  Getty and other western Premiers including Bill Vander Zalm (British Columbia) and Grant Devine (Saskatchewan) were all explicit in saying that the FTA would lessen the economic dominance of central Canada (the core) over the western provinces (the periphery).  Even Mulroney played in to this refrain by stating that “Ontario should be prepared to share the wealth; that privileged southern Ontario must not prevent other parts of Canada from benefiting from improved trade with the United States.”  Certainly the FTA limited the province’s control over areas such as resource development, but according to former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed, this loss of power was acceptable because it went hand in hand with the federal government’s weakened authority and its lessened power to regulate natural resources and energy.  Those who favoured free trade saw it as a step towards multilateral liberalization, and a guarantee against “destructive” central Canadian economic nationalism.  In this regards, a lot of western Canada and especially Alberta’s support for the FTA in 1988 was based on the FTA as a guarantee against old “destructive” Canadian economic nationalism, of which the National Energy Program (NEP) was the ultimate example.
   In 1980, the Liberal government of Pierre Elliott Trudeau implemented the National Energy Program (NEP), a wide-reaching program to shift, to Ottawa’s benefit, power over Canadian natural resources and to shelter Canadians from price spikes decided by domestic or foreign producers.  The NEP established oil and natural gas prices below world levels, levied charges on producers, and set a target for 50% domestic ownership of oil and natural gas production by 1990.  By attempting to shift the locus of energy policy back to Ottawa, the NEP was a nation-building exercise, in line with the Liberal Party’s vision of a federal-centered single community independent of the United States.  The NEP, favourable to central Canada, was opposed by the western provinces and Alberta in particular. Alberta has 85% of Canada’s oil and gas reserves, and because its wealth is based on large part on the exploitation and taxation of natural resources, Alberta has viewed control over its oil and gas reserves as something of a birthright.  It is hardly surprising that Alberta engaged in a fistfight with Ottawa over the NEP, viewing the NEP as a perfect example of the aforementioned “destructive” economic nationalism of central Canada and of regionally discriminatory economic policies discriminating against the periphery.  The NEP was eventually dismantled by the Conservative government in 1984.  Dismantled it might have been, but the NEP cast a long shadow over the free trade debate in western Canada. In fact, then-Treasury Board Secretary Patricia Carney explicitly linked the FTA and NEP in a 1988 speech to Canadian oil producers in Calgary by saying that “critics say the problem with the free trade agreement is that under its terms Canada can never impose another National Energy Program on the country. The critics are right. That was our objective in these negotiations.”
   Provincial governments in western Canada, most notably Alberta, had long advocated free trade in energy, since, in Alberta’s case, the more oil and gas they sell, the larger their revenue. The United States, therefore, is both a huge potential market and a partner, which, unlike Ottawa, cannot tax or regulate a province’s energy resources. For Albertans, free trade with the US was a counterweight to federal domination.  Even beyond that, for Alberta, free trade and increased exports of energy to the US was viewed as a critical step in province-building. 
While Canada shielded off its cultural industry from free trade; unlike Mexico, Canada did not protect its energy industry. According to the FTA, any taxes imposed by one country must also apply to its own domestic consumption and export prices could not differ from domestic prices.  During the free trade debate, the west assumed that the FTA would prevent Ottawa from imposing regionally discriminatory policies on the periphery, but it also believed that the FTA would both increase its access to the US market and increase the efficiency of Canadian industry by the lowering of tariffs. 
Given the importance in western Canada of increasing its access to the American market, it is hardly surprising that the provincial conflict over the NEP was replicated in the battle over free trade. Alberta and the west as a whole, the ‘victims’ of the NEP, were the strongest supporters of the FTA; but Ontario, the benefactor of the NEP, opposed the FTA.  In a November 1988 poll, in which 43% of respondents opposed free trade against 37% who supported it, Ontario opposed the FTA by a margin of 48% to 34%, but Alberta favoured FTA by a similar margin (48-35). Following the election, in a poll showing that 56% of Canadians supported free trade, Alberta favoured free trade with a crushing 71%.  Working in tandem with Quebec, the two sectional alienations of Canada combined to provide Brian Mulroney’s pro-FTA Conservatives with his majority in the 1988 federal election.
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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2011, 03:22:32 pm »
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In both the 1911 and 1988 federal election, western Canada – especially Alberta – favoured free trade and a shift from the traditional east-west axis of economic relations in Canada towards a north-south axis involving free trade with the United States. In both cases, the sectional alienation and handicaps of the west from the economic ‘core’ of central Canada played a major role. Western Canada, as the periphery opposed to the core, worries about what has been called the “peripheral predicament” whereby peripheries suffer increasing economic insecurity, declining standards of living and a weakening of their political power. 
In 1911, the Grain Growers’ Guide demanded a downwards reduction of the tariff, viewing it as something discriminating against the majority in favour of a minority (central Canada).  In 1988, the western provinces and Alberta at the forefront of them saw free trade as key to reducing the west’s economic dependence on central Canada. However, 1988 saw much more sectional rhetoric being used in the west than in 1911. Prior to the 1911 election, there was still relatively little resentment aimed at central Canada in particular, rather it was aimed at the dominant manufacturing interests, which, it is true, were based in central Canada. However, in 1988, with statements such as Alberta Premier Don Getty’s assertion that “no one is ever going to shove anything down Alberta’s throat again,”  sectional alienation proved a much more potent factor in the free trade debate. It was perhaps the defeat of reciprocity by Ontario in the 1911 election, which William Morton called the first act in the agrarian protest movement in western Canada, which served as the historical seed of the sectional issues so crucial in the free trade debate of 1988 and the interrelated issues of the NEP in 1980 and Meech Lake in 1987. The post-election declaration of the Grain Growers’ Guide in 1911 that “the West must bow to Ontario, the most powerful province, politically, in Canada”  seemed already reminiscent of some of the language used in the west in the 1988 free-trade debate.
However, the economic motivations which led the west and Alberta to support a realignment of Canada’s relationship with the United States along an open-border, north-south axis both in 1911 and 1988 were quite different. In 1911 (and indeed since 1906), the main issue in western Canada had been tariff reduction.  At the turn of the century, western Canada was a predominantly agrarian economy and its economy was weakened by the undiversified natural resources, the high human and material costs of exploiting the land and the farmer’s indebtedness. The tariff, in the form of John A. Macdonald’s 1879 National Policy was the main cause of these economic difficulties vis-à-vis central Canada, because the tariff did not protect the farmer’s produce but forced him to “buy on a seller’s market” , thus at prices which were hardly competitive especially given that his revenue was based on fluctuating world market prices for his produce.  The question of free market access was not an issue for farmers in supporting reciprocity. The advantage of a north-south relationship in 1911, for the western farmer, was tariff reduction and the weakening of trusts through foreign competition. In 1988, however, the key economic motivator was market access for western Canada’s exports, the most significant of which (at least in Alberta’s case) was oil. The west no longer demanded government intervention in the form of anti-trust legislation or tariff reduction; in fact the west resented government intervention in the form of the NEP. Free trade would be beneficial for Alberta and the west’s resource-based economy because an increase in the volume of their sales of oil and gas to the US meant increased revenue.  In 1987, Ontario Premier David Peterson had warned the west that what they “take for granted in Confederation” such as regional development programs, federal oil subsidies and subsidies for western farmers would be endangered by the FTA.  The low resonance amongst westerners of his warnings show quite well how different the motivators were in 1988 compared to 1911, when such arguments might have touched a more receptive crowd.
The motivator for western support in 1911 was thus tariff reduction – which required government intervention, while in 1988 the motivator was free market access – which resented the federal government’s intervention. The stark difference between the two main economic motivators can be linked to Harold Innis’ work in 1979 on regional discontent.  Prior to the First World War, Innis argued, the Canadian economy (the west’s wheat economy especially) was largely geared towards the production of staple crops for export to the European markets. In this period, Ottawa played a key role in the west as the provider of transportation networks and promoter of settlement.  As long as the western economy remained geared towards production and export of staple crops for the European market, the west required a powerful central government. Once new exports destined for the American markets, such as minerals, became economically predominant, the east-west axis and centralized governance was hard to maintain.  Therefore, according to Harold Innis, the regional conflict in Canada opposed provinces, such as Ontario, whose economy competed with the American industry to those provinces, like Alberta, whose economy was ‘fortunate’ in the sense that it had resources in which the American economy was interested in.  For Innis, the core-periphery conflict in Canada was traceable to the fact that the various regions were economic tributaries of the United States. 
77 years separated the free trade elections of 1911 and 1988, but in both these cases the option supporting freer trade with the United States and a realignment of Canadian economic relations with the US along north-south lines found some of their keenest supporters in western Canada, especially Alberta which in both 1911 and 1988 gave all but one of its seats to the “free trade party” of the day. The sectional alienation and handicaps of the west, as the periphery suffering from the “peripheral predicament”, played a role in both elections. But the sources of these sectional divides and the economic motivators behind western support for free trade were very different. In 1911, the reason behind the west’s support was tariff reduction. In 1988, demands for trade liberalization and market access for the west’s exports to American markets were the dominant factor. One hundred years ago, as an agrarian region, the west did not resent federal government intervention and in fact was dependent on it. But in 1988, the west, as an exporter of natural resources (a provincial responsibility), resented federal intervention in sectors such as energy. In this regards, policies such as the NEP cast a long shadow over the free trade debate of 1988. The major causes behind the story were thus miles apart, but through the elections of 1911 and 1988, western Canada and Alberta in particular showed its support for a north-south axis of economic relations in Canada.

And Stephen Harper is a major douchebag.
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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2011, 03:23:54 pm »
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It seems like the copy-paste did not carry the footnotes over. 59 in all!

If anyone cares enough, here's the biblio:


Bibliography
Dafoe, John W. ‘Dafoe to George Iles, September 27, 1911.’ In The 1911 General Election: A Study in Canadian Politics. Toronto: Copp Clark Publishing, 1970. pp. 220.

“Canada: The 34th Parliament, 1988.” Map. Department of Energy, Mines and Resources Canada. 1990.

Gibbins, Roger. “Canadian Federalism: The Entanglement of Meech Lake and the Free Trade Agreement.” Publius 19.3 (1989). pp. 185-198. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/3330490>

Henry, Shawn. "Revisiting Western Alienation: Towards a Better Understanding of Political Alienation and Political Behaviour in Western Canada." Thesis. University of Calgary, 2000.University of Calgary Institutional Repository. University of Calgary. 16 Mar. 2011. <http://hdl.handle.net/1880/40774>.

Johnston, Richard and Michael B. Percy. “Reciprocity, Imperial Sentiment, and Party Politics in the 1911 Election.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 13.4 (1980). pp. 711-729.

Leslie, Peter and Keith Brownsey. “Constitutional Reform and Continental Free Trade: A Review of Issues in Canadian Federalism in 1987.” Publius 18.3 (1988). pp. 153-174. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/3330278>

Mackenzie King, William L. ‘King to J. Wilson, May 9, 1911.’ In The 1911 General Election: A Study in Canadian Politics. Toronto: Copp Clark Publishing, 1970. pp.171.

Morton, William L. The Progressive Party in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1960. ch. 1

Uslaner, Eric M. “Energy Policy and Free Trade in Canada.” Energy Policy 17.4 (1989). pp. 323-330. <http://resolver.scholarsportal.info.proxy.bib.uottawa.ca/resolve/03014215/v17i0004/323_epaftic>

‘Voting Pattern’. The 1911 General Election: A Study in Canadian Politics. Toronto: Copp Clark Publishing, 1970. pp. 183.
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« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2011, 04:05:32 pm »
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A fine paper, Hash. You've made some interesting organizational choices in this paper, especially the one to phrase the struggle between Ottawa and the West in terms of "core-periphery relations". Your implication of dependency theory is intriguing in that it implies a relation (regional)  within the periphery (Canada) subject to unfavorable terms of trade with the core (USA) - was it the case that politics sometimes framed the economic plight of farmers or energy sector workers as oppressive regulation rather than oppressive trade regimes brought about through capitalism? I understand that the latter has traditionally been the province of the left ("Canada is a colony of the USA!"), but it seems to me that the USA is the clear hegemon through its huge market, not Ottawa.

That leads me to think about not only economic relations across the east-west axis, but political ones as well. The section in which you talk about NEP (an acronym shared unfortunately with Malaysia!) and Meech Lake is most fascinating for me. The ways in which tariff politics inform debates about federalism and the nature of administration within the space economy would have been the focus of the paper if I had written it, but I understand that your focus on elections necessitates an analysis of the basic economic factors leading to election performance. To what extent is Western sectionalism motivated by economic factors rather than cultural ones? And how has the Conservative party attempted to meet the demands of the West while recognizing that it must win the support of voters from the core, in Ontario? I've always been struck by the heterogeneity of Canada - even of Anglophone Canada. How does a nation so culturally and economically oriented toward market activity to the South reconcile that heterogeneity with a desire for cohesive federalism?

Anyway, this is just what I've thought about when reading. Feel free to discount absolutely everything I've said, since I read this merely to learn something new and don't pretend to know anything at all on this topic.
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« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2011, 07:56:14 pm »
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A fine paper, Hash. You've made some interesting organizational choices in this paper, especially the one to phrase the struggle between Ottawa and the West in terms of "core-periphery relations". Your implication of dependency theory is intriguing in that it implies a relation (regional)  within the periphery (Canada) subject to unfavorable terms of trade with the core (USA) - was it the case that politics sometimes framed the economic plight of farmers or energy sector workers as oppressive regulation rather than oppressive trade regimes brought about through capitalism? I understand that the latter has traditionally been the province of the left ("Canada is a colony of the USA!"), but it seems to me that the USA is the clear hegemon through its huge market, not Ottawa.

That leads me to think about not only economic relations across the east-west axis, but political ones as well. The section in which you talk about NEP (an acronym shared unfortunately with Malaysia!) and Meech Lake is most fascinating for me. The ways in which tariff politics inform debates about federalism and the nature of administration within the space economy would have been the focus of the paper if I had written it, but I understand that your focus on elections necessitates an analysis of the basic economic factors leading to election performance. To what extent is Western sectionalism motivated by economic factors rather than cultural ones? And how has the Conservative party attempted to meet the demands of the West while recognizing that it must win the support of voters from the core, in Ontario? I've always been struck by the heterogeneity of Canada - even of Anglophone Canada. How does a nation so culturally and economically oriented toward market activity to the South reconcile that heterogeneity with a desire for cohesive federalism?

Anyway, this is just what I've thought about when reading. Feel free to discount absolutely everything I've said, since I read this merely to learn something new and don't pretend to know anything at all on this topic.

Thanks for your kind words! I'm grateful you shifted through all this blabber.

The core-periphery relations in a regional, not international, context has always fascinated me as you see similar things in other countries such as Spain and perhaps Brazil. Canada, in my opinion, is perhaps one of the best examples. It is true that the US is the bigger hegemon compared to Ottawa, but for the west at least the US is primarily a key trading partner who buys the oil and is not associated with the 'hegemonic' negatives associated with Ottawa like core-domination, regulatory regimes and regionally discriminatory policies. Even in Quebec, with Duplessis and Taschereau as good case in points, there is a tendency to view Ottawa as more dangerous than the US for similar reasons related to its central federal power. I mean, Duplessis was nationalist when it came to Ottawa but he was the keenest guy out there when it came to selling our energy to the Americans. Taschereau was similar in his cooler attitude towards Ottawa and a friendly attitude towards the US.

Your other comments and tracks are interesting, but you must understand that this is for a North American relations class and the paper needs to be about some aspect of North American (foreign) relations. It's a shaky enough topic as it is as it, imo, deals superficially with the US aspect of things; so turning this paper into a more domestic discussion of federalism or Canadian politics was never the point really. The election stuff was more a guiding point and set dates, as you notice the elections themselves are not really the huge point of the paper.
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« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2011, 09:39:21 pm »
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Your other comments and tracks are interesting, but you must understand that this is for a North American relations class and the paper needs to be about some aspect of North American (foreign) relations. It's a shaky enough topic as it is as it, imo, deals superficially with the US aspect of things; so turning this paper into a more domestic discussion of federalism or Canadian politics was never the point really. The election stuff was more a guiding point and set dates, as you notice the elections themselves are not really the huge point of the paper.

I understand. You obviously have a much more Canadian focus than American, so my thinking about the paper just centered around Meech Lake and the problem of federalism. This is also a reason why my own writing sometimes strays from the topics at hand and starts to engage theories and philosophies that are often totally irrelevant to the assignment but satisfy my own twisted curiosity. Grin

What did you read in this class? Anything interesting from the study of relations with Mexico? How far back in history did you go?
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« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2011, 11:25:17 pm »
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The main thing I'd say is that you need to be showing your secondary reading more in the text; what sort of arguments have previous academics (from whatever discipline) made regarding the issue, and how does your argument fit into this framework.
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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2011, 08:41:13 am »
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The main thing I'd say is that you need to be showing your secondary reading more in the text; what sort of arguments have previous academics (from whatever discipline) made regarding the issue, and how does your argument fit into this framework.

There's actually not all that much of an academic debate on this specific issue, and from the little guidelines given it seems as if the prof doesn't care all that much about such stuff. He hasn't, for example, set a fixed number of sources to be used (usually the minimum is 12).
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« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2011, 09:15:19 am »
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There's actually not all that much of an academic debate on this specific issue, and from the little guidelines given it seems as if the prof doesn't care all that much about such stuff. He hasn't, for example, set a fixed number of sources to be used (usually the minimum is 12).

Ah, but if there isn't much of a debate, you can turn around and say 'aha! There has not been much of a debate; why is this?' and so on - which is fun.
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« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2011, 02:38:47 pm »
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Interesting read!

Besides what Al said, the only further remark I have is that you have a bit of word repetition in some parts. It's nothing major, of course, and probably won't count against you gradewise, but it'd give your paper a bit of a better "sound" to it if you threw in a few more synonyms and pronouns.

Also, I hope that last line isn't actually in the paper Tongue
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« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2011, 04:01:37 pm »
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Interesting stuff. I hastily paint "tariff reduction" and "market access" under the brush of "free trade", but that's a rather anachronistic way to view things. And I think arguments like yours can serve to undermine free trade as a "goal in itself", since the term is really a categorization of differing economic policies.

I have a comment about the paper's organization, though. You should make the arguments the unambiguous focus of the paper. Change the thesis so it becomes "analyze and contrast the arguments used in favour of freer trade by western Canadians in both the 1911 and 1988 elections." By that reasoning, the election results should not start off each section, but rather as statistic that wrap up the discussion.

So, instead of having the results of 1911 as paragraph 2, you should combine it with the latter sentences of paragraph 4 to form a new paragraph. The debate of 1988 should precede the results of the election, after which you can discuss the NEP as a factor.

(That, and you spelled Mackenzie King "Mackenize King"...)
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« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2011, 12:26:29 pm »
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Not a bad read. Could probably have been trimmed/abridged a little without loss of info, but that happens in college essays.
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"The secret to having a rewarding work-life balance is to have no life. Then it's easy to keep things balanced by doing no work." Wally



"Our party do not have any ideology... Our main aim is to grab power ... Every one is doing so but I say it openly." Keshav Dev Maurya
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