Globalization, Trade Policy, and the Permissive Consensus in Canada (Working Paper 27)

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Mendelsohn, Matthew
Wolfe, Robert
Parkin, Andrew
Globalization , Trade Policy , Consensus , Canada
Do public protests dramatize the new political salience of trade policy? This article analyzes a survey of Canadian mass opinion taken just before the protests against the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas in Quebec City in April 2001. The survey design allows a comparison of the difference between Canadians’ positive assessment of trade agreements but more ambivalent responses to “globalization.” We examine a series of underlying attitudes and values to probe latent opinion on trade and globalization. We conclude that the permissive consensus on trade agreements is robust – that is, Canadians are prepared to defer to governments on trade liberalization – but this consensus may be endangered by ongoing globalization and pressures for North American integration that go well beyond issues of tariffs and trade. On these latter issues, the nature of globalization and integration, not its existence, are subject to heated debate.
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