Back in 1986, Diane Francis’s hard-hitting Controlling Interest revealed the startling fact that one-third of Canada’s wealth was in the hands of just 32 families and five conglomerates. At the time, Bernie Ghert, president of Cadillac Fairview, prophesized, “In a number of years, there will be six groups running the country.” Was he right? Media coverage would have us believe that the last two decades have only increased the concentration of power. Diane Francis disagrees, and she’s here to deliver some good news: a positive transformation has taken place in Canada, with both free trade and tough competition legislation creating a new and better nation. This time the country is driven by players who are ready to offer innovative policies and visions for the 21st century. Combining extensive interviews with Canada’s economic leaders—from individuals to families to international conglomerates— with Francis’s hallmark incisive analysis, Who Owns Canada Now? will be the most important and talked-about business book of the year.
• Of the 32 families who were profiled in Controlling Interest, fewer than half remain major players.
• Of the five conglomerates profiled, only one remains intact.
• A powerful new multinational cast—including Calgary’s Clay Riddell and Murray Edwards, Gerry Schwartz, the Burnetts, the Hos, the Shaws, the Peladeaus and the Aspers—are today’s economic drivers.
• Canadians have been successful at building world-class businesses and investing globally.
• A look at 70 of the most successful Canadians, most of whom are billionaires, shows that many are self-made; 11 were still in school or in foreign countries when Francis wrote Controlling Interest in 1986.
• Financial reforms have shifted the balance away from an old boys’ network of risk-averse investors towards daring Canadian innovators.