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A doc series that shined a light on Canada’s position in the global economy in the late 20th century, especially in relation to its closest neighbour, the United States.

  • The Rise and Fall of American Business Culture
    1987|57 min

    This documentary from 1987 looks at the serious malaise that plagued the US manufacturing sector at the time. No longer competitive in the world market, and forced to buy more than it could sell, the US nevertheless continued to bask in the glow of past glory rather than face its immediate predicament. Meanwhile, Japan and other Pacific Rim countries were gaining economic ground, perhaps permanently.

    This film was part one of the series, Reckoning: The Political Economy of Canada.

  • Shift Change
    1986|56 min

    This documentary looks at the microchip, an American invention exploited by the Japanese that caused a second industrial revolution. The devastating effect on millions of human lives is related through interviews with some of the newly jobless in Hamilton, Ontario. Using the example of Japan for contrast, host James Laxer demonstrates that the cost of technological advances need not be so high if their effects are foreseen and planned for. Part 2 of the series Reckoning: The Political Economy of Canada.

  • Riding the Tornado
    1986|57 min

    This documentary focuses on boom-and-bust economic cycles, most notably that of Alberta oil during the '70s and early '80s. When the bust hit after a drop in world oil prices, those business people who knew how to "ride a tornado" cut their losses and moved on, while others were left devastated. When Newfoundland was faced with a possible oil boom of its own in the mid-'80s, it took the lessons of Alberta to heart. Part 3 of the series, Reckoning: The Political Economy of Canada.

  • In Bed with an Elephant
    1986|59 min

    This feature documentary provides a gripping retrospective of United States-Canada relationships through a study of successive presidents and prime ministers. Using archival film footage, it demonstrates that Canadian prime ministers, from John A. Macdonald down, all began their tenures by making overtures to their American counterparts. Attitudes and outcomes have varied widely. The almost comic antipathy between Kennedy and Diefenbaker, for instance, is as palpable here as is the folksy camaraderie of Reagan and Mulroney. Part four of Reckoning: The Political Economy of Canada series.

  • At the Crossroads
    1987|58 min

    This feature documentary is an inquiry into Canada's economic troubles of the 1970 and '80s. The film summarizes the facts at hand, including some pre-NAFTA speculation about economic dependency on the United States. At roughly thirty percent, the Canada of a few decades ago was more foreign-owned than any other country in the world. Still, however, a great and stubborn national pride in our cultural and social idiosyncrasies persists, resulting in the confidence to look elsewhere besides the United States for economic alliances and models. This episode is the fifth and last part of the series Reckoning: The Political Economy of Canada.