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Strategic options in Canadian transport policy: The interface between trade pressures and domestic policy
Peter W.B. Phillips, Professor, Political Studies; associate member, Agricultural and Bioresource Economics; associate member, Marketing and Management
James Nolan University of Saskatchewan, Associate Professor, Agricultural and Bioresource Economics

Canada is facing inexorable pressures to realign its bulk freight transportation policies, especially in Western Canada. National transportation policies, as one of the three legs of the National Policy (with a common tariff wall and policies in support of immigration from Great Britain), have been used since 1876 as a nation-building tool, to support and to build eco nomics social and cultural links between the provinces of Canada. This policy dovetailed well with the economic flows for more than a century. Since the mid 1980s, with the restructuring of our national economic policy (particularly the liberalization of trade globally, the development of a stronger continental economic area through the NAFTA and the replacement of British with Asian immigration), economic flows have begun to diverge from the built transport capacity in Canada. This paper examines the roots of our current transport policy in Western Canada, assesses the pressures for and scope of change and offers some observations on three key transport policy challenges facing Western Canada and the federal system: rate setting; competition and mergers policy; and harmonization of rules.

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