Dalhousie Law Journal


Federal, Canada, economic nationalism, political considerations


Economic nationalism is the subordination of economic structures and processes to political considerations. More specifically, economic nationalism includes: (i) actions by governments, whether of sovereign states or otherwise, to preserve and/or enhance their powers in respect to the production, distribution and exchange of goods and services against the influence of other governments and of non-national individuals and business groups. (ii) actions by governments to effect or sustain material distributions favouring national as against non-national individuals or groups. (iii) actions by governments to effect or sustain particular distributions of material benefits and burdens among their own nationals as these distributions are believed to be necessary to the integrity and survival of the political community. (iv) actions by governments to facilitate the movement of goods and people within national boundaries and to impede movement across such boundaries. (v) the sentiments and theideological and other justifications supporting the governmental policies outlined above. Within the framework of federalism, economic nationalism is always at least a potential focus for conflict between the central and regional governments. The most dramatic of such clashes in Canadian history between federal and provincial economic nationalisms occurred in respect to the chartering of railways by the Manitoba government in the 1880s and the Alberta attempts to control monetary institutions in the latter half of the 1930s. The focus of this paper is the emergent conflict between federal and provincial economic policies which has followed the piecemeal disintegration of what is designed as the "new national policy" formulated by the government of Canada during and just at the end of the Second World War and implemented during the next decade.