The MacDonald Commission

April 1 st 1983

It is easy to join the cynics who claim that The Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada is mere "window dressing." However, it is precisely the structural problems mentioned by Mr. Macdonald (see below) that pose serious difficulties for the Canadian economy and require careful analysis and public debate.

Appointed in November 1982 and given three years to complete its study, the twelve-person Commission plans to begin conducting hearings across Canada in September. The Chairman, former Cabinet Minister Donald Macdonald, explained in a recent interview that the Commission will not be analyzing the causes of Canada's current economic problems but that its creation is "...a recognition that there are some important structural changes occurring in the Canadian economy and even more coming. And it's important to determine...what the goals should be for Canada in the face of those changes. The second to see whether we cannot order our arrangements within the country in a better way. For example, can we rearrange federal/provincial relations or business/government relations or business/labor relations so that we don't use up a lot of our time and talent in internal struggle rather than in facing the external challenge?" (Executive, January 1983, p. 39.) The address of the Commission is: P.O. Box/CP 1268, Ottawa, ON K1P 5R3.


Harry Antonides came to Canada in 1948, initially working as a farm hand and railway labourer. After over a decade working in a chemical plant in Sarnia, Ontario, Harry joined the newly forming Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) in 1962 as a field representative. By 1970 Harry became director of research and education. In 1974, he was a founding member of the Work Research Foundation (now Cardus) and publisher of their sole publication, Comment magazine. A prolific writer and dynamic speaker, Harry delivered lectures all over North America and published numerous articles, reviews, and essays. He is author of several books on Christianity, labour, and economics, including Multinationals and the Peacable Kingdom (1978) and Stones for Bread: The Social Gospel and its Contemporary Legacy (1985). Harry is retired and lives with his wife Janet in Willowdale, Ontario.