The Canadian Labour Congress' abortive corporatist initiative 1976–1978 is examined. Existing interpretations of the episode are reviewed and an alternative posited. CLC policy represented an attempt to extend the existing localized collective bargaining system to the national level in response to the federal government's shift from macro-economic policy management to more direct forms of economic intervention. The initiative's failure is ascribed to a misreading of government intentions and to an inconsistency between proposals for national corporatism and other, noncorporatist, features of the existing collective bargaining system. Emphasis is placed on the state's role, past and present, in shaping interest group behaviour and in establishing or vetoing corporatism.