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Dancing Around the Elephant

Dancing Around the Elephant: Creating a Prosperous Canada in an Era of American Dominance, 1957-1973

Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 360
  • Book Info
    Dancing Around the Elephant
    Book Description:

    Dancing around the Elephantrefutes the position of those who question Canada's economic independence in the mid-century and will prove tremendously controversial with economic historians and those who study Canadian nationalism.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8424-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Tables and Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-9)

    The evolution of Canada’s foreign economic policy between 1957 and 1973 largely followed the general pattern laid down during the first post-war decade.¹ At that time, only Americans were able and willing to spend the billions of dollars on Canada’s exports that the country required to ensure domestic prosperity. Inconvertible European currencies and a myriad of trade barriers had prevented those consumers from buying from Canada, a hard currency country with a dollar as solid as that of the United States. That situation persisted until well into the post-war period and in some cases, until the early 1960s. However, given...

  6. Chapter 1 The Diefenbaker Years and the United States
    (pp. 10-50)

    The election in June 1957 of the minority Progressive Conservative government led by John Diefenbaker seemed to signify a new beginning to Canadian-American relations, both political and economic. The Conservatives had traditionally been identified as the party of the old British Empire that had ceased to exist, except perhaps in the mind of the new prime minister and some of his cabinet. Donald Creighton, then an influential professor of Canadian history at the University of Toronto and the unofficial voice of conservatism in Canada, put the party’s position clearly in a lecture he gave at Carleton College a number of...

  7. Chapter 2 The Liberals Manage the American File, 1963–1968
    (pp. 51-94)

    Given the problems and difficulties that the Americans had experienced in dealing with the Diefenbaker regime over the past several years, they most certainly welcomed the election of Lester Pearson and the Liberals as the government of Canada on 8 April 1963. Indeed, McGeorge Bundy, the special assistant to the president for national security affairs, sent a memorandum to the secretaries of state, defense, the treasury, commerce, and the interior, the attorney general, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the chair of the Atomic Energy Commission, and the special representative for trade negotiations, telling them that the president wanted...

  8. Chapter 3 A Difficult Relationship: Pierre Trudeau and the United States
    (pp. 95-138)

    As Pierre Elliott Trudeau took on the onerous burden of responsibility, Canada’s economy was in recovery mode. A period of subdued growth that had lasted from the spring of 1966 until the final months of 1967 had given way to a sharply accelerated economic expansion in 1968, led by a very strong demand for Canadian exports, the primary source of which was the United States. Real output was up, unemployment was down despite a large increase in the labour force, and the deficit on current account was the smallest it had been for a number of years.¹ As well, the...

  9. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  10. Chapter 4 Canada, the Wheat Economy, and North American Relations
    (pp. 139-176)

    Wheat and wheat flour exports were very important to Canada’s economic health in the twenty-five years following the end of the Second World War. Although historians generally mark 1939 as the end of the first National Policy, implemented in 1879, that sought to make Prairie development and the wheat economy the mainstay of Canadian economic development, that is not precisely true. In 1956, for example, wheat and wheat flour exports accounted for more than 12 per cent of Canada’s total merchandise exports, admittedly a significant decrease from the 27 per cent they constituted in the late 1920s, but still a...

  11. Chapter 5 Unrequited Expectations: Britain and Canada Move Apart
    (pp. 177-214)

    During the 1960s the Anglo-Canadian economic relationship continued the inexorable decline that had characterized it since the war. Indeed, Britain seemed to largely disappear from the Canadian radar screen as Ottawa out of necessity tuned in the United States more and more. By the end of the decade, imports from and exports to the United Kingdom accounted for 5 and 9 per cent respectively of the country’s trade, and the percentages were to decline further in the 1970s.¹ By the beginning of that decade, the two had grown apart to the extent that when London was successful in its bid...

  12. Chapter 6 Canada, the GATT, and the European Economic Community
    (pp. 215-241)

    ‘If,’ the leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, Lester Pearson, began in his reply to the Speech from the Throne on 22 January 1958, ‘we do not wish to weaken the western coalition [ranged against the USSR]; and if, in Canada, we do not wish either to face the United States alone or become too economically dependent on it, then surely the best policy for us is to seek economic interdependence within the North Atlantic Community through freer trade.’¹ The notion of a North Atlantic Community, uniting North America and Western Europe, remained an attractive proposition for the generation of...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 242-246)

    Clearly, Canada had benefited enormously in terms of economic development from its favoured connection with the United States during the late 1950s and 1960s. The policy of exemptionalism practiced by various administrations over that period, the negotiation of the Auto Pact in 1965, and a relatively benign U.S. attitude towards Canada on economic matters, all helped the country to achieve a prosperity that was the envy of much of the world. Those critics of government policy who complained about Canada’s obsession with things American were correct in pointing out that those measuresenhancedthe extent of continental integration between the...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 247-304)
  15. Illustration Credits
    (pp. 305-306)
  16. Index
    (pp. 307-323)