Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

August 1991


Published in Great Plains Research 1:2 (August 1991), pp. 359–360. Copyright © 1991 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


Canadian agricultural policy has been undergoing major multidimensional changes over the past decade. They include how policy is developed, how different actors have become major and minor players, a redefinition of the major (and the mix of) objective function(s), and how the whole process is orchestrated. Farming the System is an exercise in describing and analyzing this decade of change. The book contains a vast amount of anecdotal information on the Canadian agricultural and political system. The content, structure, and style relies heavily on Wilson's background as a political scientist and as a journalist. The book contains thirteen chapters, however a more useful way of analyzing the contents is to divide it into three sections. In the first two chapters, Wilson lays the groundwork by defining the nature of the agricultural system in Canada and does a credible job of portraying the situation within which agriculture finds itself. He provides this description as a base for defining the problem with which the Mulroney government found itself faced as it began its first term in the 1980s