Money Has No Country, Behind the Crisis in Canadian
NON FICTION BOOK REVIEW
Title: Money Has No Country, Behind the Crisis in Canadian
Business; by Ann Shortell; Macmillan Canada; Hardcover;
Reviewer: A.T.Connellan, "Ann Shortell destroys the
misconceptions that some Canadians have come to accept
Shortell says Canada can do
This book could also have been titled Money Has No Heart, Loyalty,
or Conscience. It seeks only safety and profit without regard to
borders. In an incisive, well researched, readable 304 pages
Ann Shortell destroys the misconceptions that some Canadians
have come to accept as fact.
Chief among these; the Feds are giving away the country; the Free
Trade Agreement was a bad deal; the wealthy establishment and
family owned companies [Black, Bronfman or Reichmann] are
better for Canada than foreign [Hong Kong, Japan, Great Britain,
France, or American] owners; our banking system puts our interests
first; these myths and others take their place along with," of
course I'll respect you in the morning."
In the process the major sectors of the economy are examined
beginning with the Canadian banks, their expansion south to the
US, into new financial services, the resultant change in their
corporate self-image, and method of operation, from Canadian to
North American. If there ever was an argument against
government-run businesses the Air Canada and Connaught
Laboratories experience is it. Shortell's analysis of the
tortuous path of these two companies is fascinating.
The history, motives, and methodology of the Reichmann family are
examined in detail. Their investment preference for resource and
real estate paper, rather than research and development or high
technology companies diminishes their stature.
In the author's view Hong Kong and Japanese investment is a
learning opportunity for Canadian managers and investors.
Particularly patience and the importance of research and
development. Mindless politicized railing against Free Trade
[so popular with authors like Maude Barlow] has no place in her
reasoned analysis of both the existing Canada-US pact and the
upcoming Mexico agreement. Equally thoughtful is her assessment
of Michael Wilson's performance and his recovery program.
Carleton University educated Ann Shortell has written on
business for Toronto Life, Financial Times of Canada, Macleans,
and The Financial Post, co-authored "The Brass Ring", and
"A Matter of Trust", and appears on CBC and CTV.
This is not a negative book, far from it. It is a "can do" account
of how we might create a great country from a good country.
She doesn't say it but a big part of our problem is our national
inferiority complex, we have to start believing.
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