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Les politiques commerciales, industrielles, régionales, et d'adaptation dans le Rapport de la Commission MacDonald: un Commentaire
Series/Report no.Cahier de recherche #8552
The effect of long discussions between commissioners with divergent views on certain issues is obvious in the report: it is more oriented towards the short term than expected. Undue attention was paid to trade liberalization with the U.S., a region of the world which the report describes as one in relative decline. The report does not deal with a scenario wherein trade liberalization with the U.S.A. is seen as a necessary transitory measure leading towards diversification of Canada's trade relation away from North America. Such an examination would point to a different approach to the U.S.A. in the short term. The report does not deal with services, information and te telecommunication which are fundamental to the economic development of Canada. There is also overemphasis on commercial policy and relative neglect on the use of domestic policies, among them industrial policy, in the pursuit of Canada's objectives. The report notes the interdependence between commercial and domestic policies and rightly recommend that provinces must, as a consequence, be involved in trade liberalization discussions. It is argued that the report underestimates the pressures for extra- territorial application of U.S. policies to Canada and the pressure for harmonization of policies which would follow trade liberalization. The report pays no attention to the implications of offshore investment going primarily to the U.S.A. and does not pay adequate attention to the role of investment to deal with adjustment problems. Available studies would have allowed the commissioners to clarify the determinants of investment decisions by Canadian head offices who have established subsidiaries in the U.S.A. but they were not examined. Little attention was paid to the role of transnationals and intrafirm trade in examining the implications of trade liberalization. The importance given to the reduction of regional disparities in earned incomes is welcome. However, the recommandation to leave regional development to provinces and municipalities denies the importance of national policies in the attainment of regionalization job equilization the impact of new CAD-CAM-telecommunications technologies on location decisions for the production of goods and services was not examined. Nor were the extent of and changes in interregional (i.e. interprovincial and more particularly province-state) trade flows examined. Knowledge of these patterns is essential in the formulation of industrial and adjustment policies in light of trade liberalization. The report recommends passive industrial adjustment policies focussed on the U.S., a reflection of the concern of the commissioners for the short term and the U.S.A. The implementation of the report's recommendations would lead to a centralization of economic power at the nationallevel, hence the need to establish a renewed senate to favour the formulation of regionally sensitive national policies.
PROULX, Pierre-Paul, «Les politiques commerciales, industrielles, régionales, et d'adaptation dans le Rapport de la Commission MacDonald: un Commentaire», Cahier de recherche #8552, Département de sciences économiques, Université de Montréal, 1985, 34 pages.