Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Dusky Lee Smith




The question dealt with in this thesis is the existence of interest groups within the Canadian economy. An examination of the literature shows that, although this concept has only been applied in one study of the Canadian economy, numerous authors have discussed the formation, general characteristics, and effect of interest groups within the economy of other countries, especially the United States. From these analyses, a definition of interest group is constructed. An interest group is defined as a set of industrial corporations and financial institutions which are allied in a number of ways, (for example, by interlocking directorates and ownership, use of the same brokerage company, corporate law firm, bond trustee, transfer agent, and by historical affiliation), in their struggle to maximize profits, expand markets, and increase their capital supply.

Previous research indicate that the main advantages if participation within interest groups are increased profits and reduced risks. The interest group reduces cconflict between members of the group itself, but also promotes conflict between groups for unaffiliated companies and markets.

The empirical study focuses upon the relationship between a selected sample of major industrial corporations and financial institutions, and the five largest Canadian banks-- the Bank of Montreal, the Royal Bank, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, the Toronto Dominion Bank, and the Bank of Nova Scotia. Three measures- interlocking directorates, interlocking ownership, and the use of the same transfer agent and/or bond trustee-- are utilized to determine whether corporations and financial institutions consistently form into groups based around the banks.

The data roughly fits into an interest group model and a comparison with a previous study of interest group model and a comparison with a previous study of interest groups in Canada shows a certain historical continuity of ties. However, there are several factors which indicate that Canadian interest groups are loose alliances. American multinationals, although their connections to the Canadian groups are noted, are shown to have their primary ties to the parent corporation. There are many corporations which have relatively equal ties to more than one banking group. In addition, there is some discrepancy between the groups indicated by the separate measures. The analysis concludes, however, that there is sufficient evidence to affirm the existence of interest groups in Canada. It is suggested that the Canadian capitalists possess strong international affiliations and ideology, and that there is some evidence to indicate the development if international alliances in a form similar to national interest groups.

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