y the mid-1970s, the great industrial expansion of the post-World War II era that swept North America and Western Europe had ended. In Canada, a sluggish economy with rampant inflation, ballooning government deficits, and squeezed corporate profits heralded the dawn of a new and difficult era for labour. Governments and business blamed the country's difficulties on labour and the social wage. Unionized workers, they argued, created deficits, out-of-control price increases, and shrinking corporate profits by demanding unreasonable wage increases. Government and business spokespersons also declared that the social wage programs - the cost of medicare, pensions, unemployment insurance, social assistance programs - that labour and other social democratic groups had helped to secure for Canadians, accounted for much of the country's debt. In 1975, business leaders and the mass media placed tremendous pressure on the federal government to curtail labour costs. On Thanksgiving Day, Prime Minister Trudeau appeared on national television to announce the introduction of mandatory wage and price controls. Under the new law, wage increases were monitored and those ruled to be unacceptably high were rolled back by the government. This legislation was directed at the best-organized unions or, in other words, the ones most effective in winning decent wage increases. Provisions in the legislation also enabled the government to control price increases. However, prices were never monitored as closely as wages because of the complexities of the process and the reluctance of business to disclose such information.

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