Book Sale – 25 percent off today only

Lulu_Feb_3rd

For those interested in the print version of Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote or Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism, one of Lulu.com’s regular sales.

The direct link to my book page is: My Author Spotlight.

Lulu Book Sale – 35 percent off, today only

Lulu 3 DecFor those interested in the print version of Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote or Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism, one of Lulu.com’s regular sales.

The direct link to my book page is: My Author Spotlight.

Black Friday: 30 percent off print books

Lulu 27 NovFor those interested in the print version of Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote or Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism, one of Lulu.com’s better sales, 30 percent off.

The direct link to my book page is: My Author Spotlight.

Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote – Lulu 25 % Off Sale until November 23rd

Lulu 20 NovFor those interested in the print version of Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote or Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism, one of Lulu.com’s regular sales.

The direct link to my book page is: My Author Spotlight.

Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote – Lulu 30 % Flash Sale Extended to Nov 12

For those interested in the print version of Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote or Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism (topical again given the account of the transfer to CIC from Canadian Heritage in 2008, now reversed).

One of Lulu’s better sales, 30 percent off, extended for two days.

The direct link to my book page is: My Author Spotlight.

Lulu 11 Nov

Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote – Flash Sale 30 percent off

For those interested in the print version of Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote or Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism (topical again given the account of the transfer to CIC from Canadian Heritage in 2008, now reversed).

One of Lulu’s better sales, 30 percent off.

The direct link to my book page is: My Author Spotlight.

Lulu Flash Sale 10 Nov

Yes, minister, no more: Today’s bureaucrats have a different attitude: Yakabuski quoting Paquet

Yakabuski presents one side of the debate on the political-bureaucratic relationship, that of Gilles Paquet and his followers, which emphasize ‘loyal implementation’ at the expense of  ‘fearless advice.’

Many others take the contrary view, flagging the rise of ideology and the decline of ‘fearless advice’ (e.g., among the former public servants fingered by Paquet and his acolytes, Mel Cappe on ideology over evidenceRalph Heintzman: Creeping politicization in the public serviceKevin Page delivers a warning to the public service, among academics, Boundary between politics, public service is ‘no man’s land’: Donald Savoie, David Zussman quoted in Ideology, minority rule, distrust shaped Harper government’s relationship with public service).

As I argued in my book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism, written from my perspective working to implement change by then Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and CIC Minister Kenney, the public service failed to provide impartial ‘fearless advice’ and recognize its own ideologies and biases, and was not quick enough to shift to ‘loyal implementation’ once the advice had been given. (Disclosure: I had worked with Paquet and his press on Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias but our divergence of views was too great).

Canadians need to understand better how the balance between the bureaucratic and political roles plays out in the related debates over evidence-based policy (and which evidence), the decline of government policy expertise and data and other issues.

While academics and some journalists can and do raise these issues, former public servants should also contribute to discussions on the role of the public service and the political-bureaucratic relationship given their on-the-ground experience.

While such contributions run the risk of having a partisan element in their critique of Conservative government actions (and certainly being perceived this way), it is also non-partisan in that such contributions also form advice to any future government on both framework and specific policy issues (which of course, it would be free to accept or refuse).

And of course, the sharper ideological edge of the Conservative government compared to the more centrist public servant perspective accentuates distrust on both sides:

This view is echoed in a March article in Optimum Online, a public-sector management journal that Prof. Paquet edits. The article, by a senior Ottawa-based policy analyst using a pseudonym, asserts that “many senior federal public servants [develop] a conviction that they are better guardians of basic values of our democracy than elected officials. While this attitude had to be somewhat tamed while they were on active duty, it has become fully unleashed in retirement.”

The author goes on: “This has naturally generated a flow of self-righteous condemnation of current government policies by many newly unencumbered retired senior officials, and has thereby provided immense moral support for those senior public servants still in active duty – former colleagues and friends – to heighten their own passive (or semi-active) opposition to the elected government from within. As a result, the corridor of what has come to be regarded as tolerable disloyalty from within would appear to have widened considerably.”

This trend is nearly certain to outlive the Harper government. Future governments will become even more suspicious of the bureaucracy they inherit. To some extent, such suspicion has always existed. But Canada has always resisted the American practice of administrations stuffing the top layers of the bureaucracy with political appointees. Prof. Paquet worries that will change unless the principles of bureaucratic loyalty and discretion are restored.

“Loyalty breeds loyalty,” he says. “It’s 50-50.”

For my take on the same article, see The Demonization of Stephen Harper.

A review I did on an earlier Paquet article, Super-Bureaucrats as Enfants du siècle, provides further material for this ongoing debate (‘Mental Prisons,’ the Public Service and Gilles Paquet).

Source: Yes, minister, no more: Today’s bureaucrats have a different attitude – The Globe and Mail

And my letter to the editor on this can be found here.

Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Review in Canadian Ethnic Studies

For those interested, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism continues to attract interest, most recently in this review by Nelson Wiseman of UofT in the most recent issue of Canadian Ethnic Studies.

Canadian Ethnic Studies Review 2015

Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias one year later: What I heard

My reflections on my book one year later, and what I heard from others:

In promoting my book, I spoke with a variety of groups, including former deputies, policy analysts, students, academics and journalists.

The limited feedback I received from the political level indicated that I had achieved my goal of balancing government and public servant perspectives.

From these discussions, particularly with more senior officials, it was clear that there was a relationship issue, for which both sides shared responsibility. But it was striking that the theme of mutual distrust and suspicion permeated most levels with direct experience in working with the political level.

Equally striking to some was that the relationship, and the overall approach did not change once the government obtained a majority in 2011.

Some pointed out that I over-simplified the ideological divide, as public servants in economic departments have more conservative views than those in social departments. Others questioned whether it was values, rather than ideology, but did not disagree on the divide.

Others acknowledged that the public service had not adequately prepared for the transition by not understanding the ideological and values roots of the government.

Some expressed frustration at providing advice that was routinely discounted or viewed as disloyal, and questioned how it was possible to provide advice when the government’s world view was so at odds with their best, professional advice, even acknowledging their implicit biases.

Most were pessimistic that a change of government would necessarily change things for the better, as the success of the Harper government in implementing its agenda and controlling the message was not lost on the other parties.

Those with longer memories warned against nostalgia for “the good old days,” noting that they were not as good as portrayed.

It was unclear the degree of which the relationship issue was being discussed within and among departments, or whether the Destination 2020 initiative, a more comfortable process discussion, overshadowed a more fundamental re-examination.

Policy arrogance and innocent bias | hilltimes.com. (pay wall)

Veiled voting furor’s unlikely ending: Delacourt | Toronto Star

Good piece on evidence vs anecdote with respect to Elections Canada and the veiled voting controversy. Also nice mention of my book:

It should remind us of the push and pull that former bureaucrat Andrew Griffith has described in his book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, about his experiences at Citizenship and Immigration when Jason Kenney became the minister.

Griffith writes of how the public servants came to the table with reports and research, only to be met with anecdotes from the minister’s many, many meetings with cultural communities.

“While anecdotal in nature, the scale of ministerial outreach meant that public servants could not ignore what he was hearing from his ‘practicum,’ as he called it,” Griffith wrote.

Veiled voting furor’s unlikely ending: Delacourt | Toronto Star.