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HUMANITIES 293 Hesketh gives a detailed analysis of how Aberhart tried to implement his beliefs from the time he became premier in 1935 until his death in 1943. The sincerity of his commitment to social credit ideals was not diminished by his 'gradualist' approach, although the thesis that Manning was equally committed is less convincing because less rigorously argued. There are eight chapters on the period 1935 to 1945 and only one on the post-Second World War era. The book is vague about how pervasive Douglas's ideas were and how far they extended beyond Aberhart, Manning, and the Alberta Social Credit party elite. There are a few hints that many party supporters had their doubts. When in 1937 the extreme Douglasites were seeking to spread their paranoid view of history and educate the masses in the principles of 'social dynamics,' the party's local groups-had the good sense to resist indoctrination. However, Hesketh omits a systematic, comprehensive analysis of the relationship between the ideology of the Social Credit elite and the concerns of ordinary members. One of the consequences of moving Douglas's ideas to the centre of our understanding of Alberta Social Credit is that it makes the Social Credit phenomenon more troubling. We cannot be comforted by the assumption that Aberhart and company gave only token and temporary endorsement to Douglas'S strange intellectual brew. It becomes more important, therefore, for Hesketh to explain what drew these individuals into their Alice-in-Wonderland world. Intellectual history, when the ideas under examination are so peculiar and aberrant, does not seem adequate. Biographical and psychological approaches would have made this interestingbook even more illuminatingand satisfying. (JAMES M. PITSULA) David R. Morrison. Aid and Ebb Tide: A History of CIDA and Canadian Development Assistance Wilfrid Laurier University Press. xxii, 602. $65.00 The end of the Second World War left Canada facing two new challenges: the cold war rivalry between East and West and the collapse of the European colonial empires. Having first donated funds to help in the reconstruction of Europe, Canada was then called upon to contribute to the development of the newly independent states of Asia and Africa. The resulting foreign aid program and its institutional framework are the subject of Morrison's splendid book. He begins his story in 1950, when Ottawa made a modest outlay of $25 million as part of the Colombo Plan, for capital projects and technical assistance in India, Pakistan, and Ceylon. He then goes on to describe in considerable detail how Canada's development assistance program grew rapidly in size, at least until 1991, when it dispersed over $3 billion; broadened its geographical reach to much of the developing world; 294 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 diversified its policy offerings to include such things as food and commodity aid, agriculture and social development, basic needs and poverty alleviation, structural adjustment, women in development and the environment; and channelled its funds not only through government-togovernment , bilateral arrangements but through multilateral agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and private businesses as well. As Canada's aid program grew in size and diversity, Ottawa was forced to create a stronger and more coherent institutional framework for the delivery of its development assistance. And so was born in 1960 the External Aid Office, renamed the Canadian International Development Agency in 1968, with Maurice Strong as its first president. But Morrison's account of what he calls 'the shifting contours of Canada's aid efforts' is not limited to a mere description of Canada's development assistance program and its institutional framework. He sets that historical record against the backdrop of organizational inertia, interdepartmental rivalry, political involvement, and transnational discourse. Whether he is describing the aid-trade fund, human rights conditionality, structural adjustment, or the selection of recipients, Morrison invariably extends his analysis to include the competing aims of Ottawa's mandarins, divergent political and economic interests in Canada and abroad, CIDA'S own structures and procedures, and the forces and influences emanating from the global environment. Indeed/ in his final chapter, Morrison attempts to develop a comprehensive framework for understanding Canada's development assistance program. He reviews the scholarly literature that has sought to explain Canada...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 293-295
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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