Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

February 1993


Published in Great Plains Research 3:1 (February 1993), pp. 113-114. Copyright © 1993 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Used by permission.


This book takes on several tasks. These include assessing Western Canada's competitive strengths in international export markets, judging whether the region is able to take advantage of shifts occurring in these trading patterns, as well as viewing effects of the Canadian economic union on Western Canada. The authors begin their discussion by pointing out how well the economy of the Canadian West is integrated with adjacent regions. The region ships about 54 percent of total exports to the U.S., a number which seems high, but is in fact lower than the Canadian average of 75 percent. The reason appears to be the low integration in agriculture. The authors don't speculate about causes, but a good guess is that much of the reason lies with domestic policies such as the Canadian Wheat Board and the Western Grain Transportation Act. The obvious question is whether the benefits of these initiatives should not be assessed in light of the costs they impose on cross-border agricultural trade.