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Key Terms

National Policy

The National Policy was an economic policy put in place in 1879 by John A. Macdonald's government. It remained the basis of Conservative economic policy for many years -- Conservative Prime Minister Robert Borden would maintain the policy from 1911 to 1920, as would Prime Minister R. B. Bennett from 1930 to 1935.

A nationalist policy designed to favour Canadian industries and to promote consumer confidence, the National Policy was initially seen as a protectionist measure. Over time, however, the policy took on a larger scope. The Canadian Pacific Railway, the colonization of the Prairies, the development of ports, and financial support for a sea link to Europe and Asia to support the export of Canadian goods came to be included under the heading of the National Policy.