In the Power of the Government: The Rise and Fall of Newsprint in Ontario, 1894-1932

In the Power of the Government: The Rise and Fall of Newsprint in Ontario, 1894-1932

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By Mark Kuhlberg
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2015
World Rights
424 Pages 10 Images
ISBN 9781442614536
Published Mar 2015
Online discount: 25%
 $36.95    $27.71
ISBN 9781442646636
Published Mar 2015
Online discount: 25%
 $80.00    $60.00
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442666214
Published Mar 2015
Online discount: 24%
Full purchase $36.95

For forty years, historians have argued that early twentieth-century provincial governments in Canada were easily manipulated by the industrialists who developed Canada’s natural resources, such as pulpwood, water power, and minerals. With In the Power of the Government, Mark Kuhlberg uses the case of the Ontario pulp and paper industry to challenge that interpretation of Canadian provincial politics.

Examining the relationship between the corporations which ran the province’s pulp and paper mills and the politicians at Queen’s Park, Kuhlberg concludes that the Ontario government frequently rebuffed the demands of the industrialists who wanted to tap Ontario’s spruce timber and hydro-electric potential. A sophisticated empirical challenge to the orthodox literature on this issue, In the Power of the Government will be essential reading for historians and political scientists interested in the history of Canadian industrial development.

Mark Kuhlberg is an associate professor in the Department of History at Laurentian University.


Section I: The Setting and The Liberals, 1894–1905

1. The Natural and Political Landscapes

2. “Intent Upon Getting Grain-Growing Settlers Upon the New Land”: The Liberals, 1894–1905

Section II:  “Large Tracts of Land Are Not Necessary for the Business of Any Company”: The Conservatives, 1905–1919


3. “We Have Been Most Lenient in Allowing the Company to Run On”

4. “The Jack-Ass Methods of That Department”

Section III: “In Order to Keep in Office, They Must Play Politics”: The United Farmers of Ontario, 1919–1923


5. “This Government Should … Exercise Responsibility of Dealing with Tenders”

6. “Established Industries which … Have But Scant Supply”

Section IV:  “The Chief is the Whole Show”: The Conservatives, 1923–1932


7. “For Political Purposes”

8. “Political Connections of the Strongest Kind”

9. “Excluded from the Area Given to Spruce Falls”

10. “No Definite Commitment Has Ever Been Made by This Department”

11. “We Shall Continue to Paddle Our Own Canoe”

Conclusion: “The Availability of Wood for Industry Is Ambiguous”

In the Power of the Government is a significant revisionist contribution to our understanding of business–government relations in Canada. Kuhlberg offers a clear and provocative argument that the Ontario government actually contributed to the troubles of the newsprint industry in Canada.”

Ken Cruikshank, Department of History, McMaster University

‘The archival research undertaken by Kuhlberg is most impressive…. His understanding of forest species and the ecosystems of northern Ontario accents his work with insights that fuse business history with environmental history writing.’

Brad Cross, Canadian Historical Review vol 98:02:2017

‘The book stands out for the originality of its argument and the truly prodigious amount of research that informs it.’

‘A fascinating survey of the management of timber resources in Ontario in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.'

Alex Nalbach, Business History Review vol 90:01:2016

Political History Group Book Prize awarded by the Canadian Historical Association (Canada) - Winner in 2016
Best Book in Canadian Business History awarded by the Canadian Business History Association (Canada) - Winner in 2017