Canada's Economic Prospects, Royal Commission on

The idea for this royal commission was based on a draft article by Walter GORDON in 1955 questioning the validity of a number of the government's economic policies, particularly the question of selling control of Canada's natural resources and business enterprises to foreigners. Gordon was then asked if he would act as chairman.

With the help of Douglas LePan, the commission's director of research, a research staff was assembled, mostly from universities. Thirty-three studies were undertaken, each of which was published separately. This was the first time that any country had attempted such a comprehensive undertaking, and there was a great deal of public interest in the commission's work. A recurrent theme throughout was the concern felt about the acquisition by foreigners, mostly American, of Canadian resources and business enterprises. The commission completed its work within the 18 months it had set for itself, and its conclusions were summarized in a preliminary report of 3 December 1956. The final report was not completed until November 1957.

In its 2 reports the commission made some long-term forecasts for the next 25 years about the population growth, the size of the labour force, and the probable development of different sections of the economy. Most of these various estimates were remarkably close to the actual results. The commission also submitted over 50 proposals and suggestions, nearly all of which have since been incorporated in legislation or adopted administratively. The principal exceptions were its proposals with regard to FOREIGN INVESTMENT.