Mining Ontario: Corporate Power, the Mining Industry, and Public Policy in Ontario
Matthew Joseph Corbeil
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This dissertation critically examines the history of the government of Ontarios policies towards the mining industry to analyze the impact of concentrated economic power on political processes in liberal democracies. It is the first comprehensive study of the political power of one of the provinces largest and most influential industries. Drawing on critical theories of business power, this dissertation examines policy developments across four contentious issue areas, namely fiscal policy, air pollution control, occupational health and safety, and access to mineral lands. Employing a qualitative historical narrative, the study draws on data collected from the Public Archives of Ontario, newspapers, published reports and secondary academic literature. Challenging those theoretical perspectives that downplay the direct influence of large business enterprises over public policy, this dissertation argues that the mining industry has exercised a predominant influence over the government of Ontarios public policies. While the industry disposes of several political resources that privilege it in relation to its opponents, two in particular deserve special attention: First, minings commanding economic presence in the provincial North where alternative investment opportunities are generally absent, and second, the industrys deep-seated linkages with the provincial mining ministry in terms of personnel and ideology. In sum, the mining industrys structural power over the Northern economy together with its close working relations with the provincial ministry of mines have rendered provincial policymakers particularly vulnerable to the industrys lobbying, allowing the industry to play a predominant, though not monolithic, role in shaping provincial public policy.