Policy Analysis in Canada 9781447334927

Policy analysis in Canada brings together original contributions from many of the field’s leading scholars. Contributors

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Policy Analysis in Canada
 9781447334927

Table of contents :
POLICY ANALYSIS IN CANADA
Contents
List of figures and tables
Figures
Tables
Notes on contributors
Editors’ introduction to the series
1. Policy analysis in Canada: an introduction
Introduction
The organization of the book
The content of the book
Conclusion
Part I. The profession of policy analysis in Canada
2. The policy analysis profession in Canada
Introduction
Perspectives on the policy analysis profession
The formative period 1932–19453
Consolidating its influence, 1945–1968
A profession pas comme les autres?
Conclusion
3. The “lumpiness” thesis revisited: the venues of policy work and the distribution of analytical techniques in Canada
Introduction: analytical techniques and policy analysis
The lumpiness thesis: the distribution of policy analysts in Canada
Data and methods
Findings
Conclusion
Part II. Policy analysis at different levels of Canadian governments
4. Policy analysis in the federal government: conditions and renewal initiatives in the Trudeau era
Introduction
Federal policy function profile
Persistent internal federal policy conditions
Selected current renewal initiatives
Looking ahead
5. Public policy in the provinces: more powering; less puzzling
Introduction
Provinces, political governance and public policy
The role of the provincial public service in policy development
Provincial policy capacity
Innovation and policy in the provinces
Policy development in the provinces: powering policy together?
6. Policy analysis in local government
Introduction
The nature of public policy in local government
The dynamics of local policymaking
Local policy analytical capacity
Demand for policy analysis in local government
The supply of policy analysis in local government
Conclusion
Part III. Policy analysis in the executive and legislative branches of Canadian government
7. Policy analysis and the central executive
Introduction
PMO and PCO policy analysis
Finance
Treasury Board Secretariat
Conclusion: policy analysis and Canada’s central executive
8. Policy capacity and recruiting expertise in public services: acquiring talent in evolving governance environments
Introduction
The institutional setting for policy analysis: sites, pathways, talent
Competencies for well-performing policy units
Mobilizing policy expertise: three modal strategies
Evaluating strategies for mobilizing policy capacity
Conclusion: governance trends and strategies for mobilizing policy capacity
9. The diminished invisible private service: consultants and public policy in Canada
Introduction
Conducting research on public sector consultants in Canada
Defining consultants: working with the public sector
Why governments hire consultants
Impact of consultants on the policy process and policy analysis
Consultants and public policy
Closing thoughts
10. Canadian legislatures, public policy and policy analysis
Introduction
The legislature in Canada’s parliamentary system of government
Canadian legislatures, public policy and policy analysis
Conclusion
11. Commissions of inquiry and policy analysis
Introduction
What are public inquiries? Commissions of inquiry?
Why create commissions of inquiry? Do we really need another policy institution?
What is the role of COIs in policy analysis and the policy process?
Conclusion
Part IV. Policy analysis outside government: parties, interest groups and the media
12. The policy capacity of political parties in Canada
Parties as policymaking organizations
Party policymaking process
Methodology
Findings
Discussion
13. Any better ideas? Think tanks and policy analysis in Canada
Introduction
Classifying think tanks
The Canadian think tank experience
Think tanks at work
Competing in the marketplace of ideas
Think tanks and policy influence
Conclusion. Thinking ahead: think tanks and their impact
14. Policy analytical capacity and Canadian business associations
Personnel resources and the extent of policy analysis
External resources
Levels of government and policy arenas
Dissemination of results
Conclusion
15. Transforming governance patterns: challenges and opportunities for voluntary sector policy capacity
The voluntary sector in Canada
Shifting governance dynamics
Implications for policy capacity within the voluntary sector
Conclusions
16. Policy analysis and advocacy in the Canadian labour movement: when the force of argument is not enough
Introduction
The decline of working-class power in Canada
The architecture of the state and the policy process
The labour movement as policy outsider
Unions and structures for social dialogue
Conclusion
17. Media and public policy
Introduction
Positing a role for media in the policy literature
Mediating the policy process: the direct effects of media on public policy
Mediatizing the policy process: indirect media effects on public policy
The new news media: influencing policy in the digital age
New challenges for the media–policy relationship
18. From policy analysis to policy analytics
Introduction
From policy analysis to policy analytics
The emergence of big data
Policy analytics
Approaches to policy analytics
Predictive analytics
Real-time policy experimentation
Emergent examples and potential applications
Conclusion
Part V. Pedagogy and policy analysis in the Canadian university system
19. Academics and public policy
Introduction
Academic research and public policy: decisions and analysis
Activated academics in action: economic reform
Academic interest groups
Academics and policymaking: taking account of context
20. Public policy studies in North America and Europe1
Introduction
Conceptual framework and definitions
Historical background
Policy analysis and research in each region
Co-ops, internships and think tanks
Accreditation
Conclusion
Part VI. Conclusion
21. Trends and directions in Canadian policy analysis and policy advice
Policy advice as public sector work: the soft craft of hard choices
A changing context of policy advice in Canada
Concluding reflections
Index

Citation preview

INTERNATIONAL LIBRARY OF POLICY ANALYSIS SERIES EDITORS: IRIS GEVA-MAY & MICHAEL HOWLETT

POLICY ANALYSIS IN

Canada

Edited by Laurent Dobuzinskis and Michael Howlett

POLICY ANALYSIS IN CANADA

International Library of Policy Analysis Series editors: Iris Geva-May and Michael Howlett, Simon Fraser University, Canada This major new series brings together for the first time a detailed examination of the theory and practice of policy analysis systems at different levels of government and by non-governmental actors in a specific country. It therefore provides a key addition to research and teaching in comparative policy analysis and policy studies more generally.  Each volume includes a history of the country’s policy analysis which offers a broad comparative overview with other countries as well as the country in question. In doing so, the books in the series provide the data and empirical case studies essential for instruction and for further research in the area. They also include expert analysis of different approaches to policy analysis and an assessment of their evolution and operation. Early volumes in the series will cover the following countries: Australia • Brazil • China • Czech Republic • France • Germany • India • Israel • Netherlands • New Zealand • Norway • Russia • South Africa • Taiwan • UK • USA and will build into an essential library of key reference works. The series will be of interest to academics and students in public policy, public administration and management, comparative politics and government, public organisations and individual policy areas. It will also interest people working in the countries in question and internationally. In association with the ICPA-Forum and Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis. See more at http://goo.gl/raJUX

POLICY ANALYSIS IN CANADA Edited by Laurent Dobuzinskis and Michael Howlett

International Library of Policy Analysis, Vol 13

First published in Great Britain in 2018 by

Policy Press North America office: University of Bristol Policy Press 1-9 Old Park Hill c/o The University of Chicago Press Bristol BS2 8BB 1427 East 60th Street UK Chicago, IL 60637, USA +44 (0)117 954 5940 t: +1 773 702 7700 [email protected] f: +1 773 702 9756 www.policypress.co.uk [email protected] www.press.uchicago.edu © Policy Press 2018 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested. ISBN 978-1-4473-3491-0 hardcover ISBN 978-1-4473-4603-6 paperback ISBN 978-1-4473-4604-3 ePub ISBN 978-1-4473-4605-0 mobi ISBN 978-1-4473-3492-7 ePdf The right of Laurent Dobuzinskis and Michael Howlett to be identified as editors of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved: no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission of Policy Press. The statements and opinions contained within this publication are solely those of the editors and contributors and not of the University of Bristol or Policy Press. The University of Bristol and Policy Press disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any material published in this publication. Policy Press works to counter discrimination on grounds of gender, race, disability, age and sexuality. Cover design by Qube Design Associates, Bristol Front cover: image kindly supplied by istock Printed and bound in Great Britain by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY Policy Press uses environmentally responsible print partners

Contents List of figures and tables Notes on contributors Editors’ introduction to the series one Policy analysis in Canada: an introduction Laurent Dobuzinskis and Michael Howlett

vii ix xv 1

Part I: The profession of policy analysis in Canada

25

two three

The policy analysis profession in Canada 27 Stephen Brooks The “lumpiness” thesis revisited: the venues of policy work and the 49 distribution of analytical techniques in Canada Michael Howlett, Seck Tan, Adam Wellstead, Andrea Migone, and Bryan Evans

Part II: Policy analysis at different levels of Canadian governments four

five six

69

Policy analysis in the federal government: conditions and renewal 71 initiatives in the Trudeau era Robert P. Shepherd and Christopher Stoney Public policy in the provinces: more powering; less puzzling 99 Ken Rasmussen Policy analysis in local government 121 Daniel Henstra

Part III: Policy analysis in the executive and legislative branches of Canadian government

145

seven

147

eight

nine

ten

Policy analysis and the central executive Jonathan Craft and Paul Wilson Policy capacity and recruiting expertise in public services: acquiring talent in evolving governance environments Evert A. Lindquist The diminished invisible private service: consultants and public policy in Canada Kimberly Speers Canadian legislatures, public policy and policy analysis Ted Glenn

165

187

211

v

Policy analysis in Canada eleven

Commissions of inquiry and policy analysis Carolyn M. Johns and Gregory J. Inwood

233

Part IV: Policy analysis outside government: parties, interest groups and the media

255

twelve

257

thirteen fourteen fifteen

sixteen

seventeen eighteen

The policy capacity of political parties in Canada Greg Flynn and Marguerite Marlin Any better ideas? Think tanks and policy analysis in Canada Donald E. Abelson Policy analytical capacity and Canadian business associations Andrew Stritch Transforming governance patterns: challenges and opportunities for voluntary sector policy capacity Rachel Laforest Policy analysis and advocacy in the Canadian labour movement: when the force of argument is not enough Bryan Evans and Stephanie Ross Media and public policy Andrea Lawlor From policy analysis to policy analytics Justin Longo and Kathleen McNutt

275 297 317

331

351 369

Part V: Pedagogy and policy analysis in the Canadian university system

393

nineteen

395

twenty

Academics and public policy Daniel Cohn Public policy studies in North America and Europe Johanu Botha, Iris Geva-May, and Allan M. Maslove

Part VI: Conclusion

421

447

twenty-one Trends and directions in Canadian policy analysis and policy advice 449 Michael J. Prince Index 467

vi

List of figures and tables Figures 2.1 4.1 7.1 8.1 19.1

Number of articles in which “policy analyst” appears in The New York Times Federal policy inputs to the policy cycle PCO notes to PM (2012) Policy units and talent distributed across the public service Likely limits for policy movement as viewed by a given school of academic researchers for four elements of welfare state policy in a given context

41 79 152 167 410

Tables 1.1 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 4.1 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 7.1 8.1 8.2

Aspects of political analytical capacity Sample responses Top ten policy-related analytical techniques employed by selected departments Use of evidence-informed methods (EIM), by sector Nature of issues dealt with on a weekly basis Department policy capacity, by sector Comparison of formal education between government analysts, consultants and NGO analysts Comparison of degree subject areas between government analysts, consultants and NGO analysts Policy-related courses taken at the post-secondary level Comparison of working group size between government analysts, consultants and NGO analysts Roles taken by government analysts and consultants Policy-related tasks undertaken by government analysts, consultants and NGO analysts Policy-related analytical techniques employed by government analysts and consultants Similarities in analytical techniques employed Differences in analytical techniques employed Knowledge-intensive workforce in the core public administration: 2008–2014 Education sought among municipal policy workers Skills expected of municipal policy workers Professional qualities sought in municipal policy workers Tasks expected of municipal policy workers Analytical tools used by municipal policy workers Canadian central agency roles at a glance Three kinds of policy expertise Recruitment objectives for policy analysis units

8 53 56 57 57 58 58 59 60 60 61 61 62 62 63 73 131 132 132 134 135 148 169 171

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Policy analysis in Canada 8.3 10.1 10.2 11.1 12.1 13.1 13.2 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 14.7 14.8 14.9 14.10 14.11 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 16.6 21.1

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Governance trends and implications for mobilizing policy capabilities Annual statutes passed by Canadian legislatures Legislative officers Key features of commissions of inquiry in Canada Influence of party policy positions on election campaign policy manifestos in Canada, 1987–2017 Classifying think tanks A selected profile of Canadian think tanks in chronological order Frequency of policy analysis Number of in-house analysts (associations doing analysis) Analytical intensity Use of formal quantitative techniques Importance of external agencies for policy analysis Importance of levels of government for policy analysis Number of levels of government where association analysis is directed, 2016 Arenas of activity for policy analysis Number of policy arenas where association analysis is directed, 2016 Dissemination of analyses to various constituencies (% of active groups) Means of public dissemination (% of groups publicly disseminating results) 2016 How many people in your organization are dedicated to policy-related work? How often are you involved in the following types of work? How often do you interact with the following in the course of your policy-related work? How often are you invited by governments for input on policy matters? At what stage of the government policy process is your organization typically invited to participate? Over the past five years, has the demand for policy-related work in your organization greatly decreased, no change, greatly increased? Two idealized models of policy advising in Canadian government

180 217 226 236 268 278 280 300 301 302 303 303 306 307 308 309 310 311 336 336 337 338 338 338 462

Notes on contributors Donald E. Abelson is Professor and Chair, Political Science, and Director, Centre for Canada-US Studies, at the University of Western Ontario where he specializes in American politics and US foreign policy. He is the author of several books, including: Do Think Tanks Matter? Assessing the Impact of Public Policy Institutes, now in its third edition; Northern Lights: Exploring Canada’s Think Tank Landscape; and A Capitol Idea: Think Tanks & US Foreign Policy, all published by McGill-Queen’s University Press. These and other books have been translated into various foreign languages. His work has also appeared in over four dozen journals and edited collections. In addition to his teaching and research interests, Dr. Abelson is a regular commentator on television and radio broadcasts throughout Canada and the United States. Johanu Botha is a PhD candidate at Carleton’s School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA). He holds one of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s prestigious Joseph-Armand Bombardier Awards for doctoral research. Botha’s research focuses on emergency management policy and administration in Canada, with a particular focus on the role of the Canadian Armed Forces in federal-provincial-municipal collaboration during disaster response.   Stephen Brooks is Professor of Political Science at the University of Windsor and regular lecturer at Sciences Po Lille. His research and teaching focus on various aspects of American and Canadian politics. Daniel Cohn is Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration, York University. He is also a member of the Graduate Faculty of the Department of Political Science. His research focuses on civic literacy, health politics and policymaking, alternative service delivery (public-private partnerships), the roles played by academics and their influence in the policymaking process, and democratic participation in governance.  Jonathan Craft is a jointly appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, and School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Toronto.  He specializes in comparative public policy and administration, policy analysis, and Canadian politics. Laurent Dobuzinskis is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Simon Fraser University. His research and teaching interests focus on the history of political and economic thought, political economy (rational choice), and the philosophy of the social sciences; and on public policy analysis.

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Bryan Evans is Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University, Toronto. Recent publications include The Austerity State (ed. with Stephen McBride, University of Toronto Press, 2017); “Alternatives to the Low Waged Economy: Living Wage Movements in Canada and the United States” (Austerity, Urbanism, and the Social Economy – Alternate Routes: A Journal of Critical Social Research 28, 2017); and “Policy Dialogue and Engagement between Non-Government Organizations and Government: A Survey of Processes and Instruments of Canadian Policy Workers” (with Adam Wellstead, in Policy Work in Canada, Michael Howlett, Adam Wellstead and Jonathan Craft, eds., University of Toronto Press, 2017). Greg Flynn is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at McMaster University and a member of the Law Society of Ontario.  His research and teaching interests focus on Canadian politics and the intersection of law, politics and public policy, with a particular focus on elections and political parties and public and constitutional law and the courts. Iris Geva-May is Professor of Policy Studies at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Visiting Scholar Wagner School, NYU, and Honorary Visiting Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University, Ottawa. She has taught and researched in Asia, Middle East, Europe, South America, US and Canada. She is Founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice (Routledge, UK) and Founding President of the International Comparative Policy Analysis Forum (ICPA-Forum) (comparativepolicy.org), both of which have pioneered the field of comparative policy since 1998. Her recent publications are: “Two Decades of Comparative Policy Analysis”, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis 20:1; “Public Affairs Programs as Pipeline for Advancing Underserved Populations in Public Service”, NASPAA’s Journal of Public Affairs Education 19:4 (Best Article Award); An International Library of Policy Analysis, Policy Press, seven-year comparative series 2013-2020 (with Howlett); Routledge Handbook of Comparative Policy Analysis 2017 (with Brans; Howlett); Thinking Like a Policy Analyst: Policy Analysis as a Clinical Profession, An Operational Approach to Policy Analysis (1998, 2011: Chinese translation, 2013). Ted Glenn is a Professor of Public Administration at Humber College in Toronto, Canada.  He has worked for a variety of post-secondary institutions and governments in Canada and abroad, and writes about parliamentary government, public sector communications, and technical/vocational education and training. Daniel Henstra is an Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo. Professor Henstra’s research centres on public administration and public policy. With a focus on complex policy areas such as emergency management and climate change adaptation, he studies multi-level governance processes involving federal,

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provincial and municipal governments, and the networked relationships among elected officials, public servants, stakeholders and the public. Michael Howlett is Burnaby Mountain Chair in the Department of Political Science at Simon Fraser University and Professor in the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He specializes in public policy analysis, political economy, and resource and environmental policy. His recent books include: Routledge Handbook of Comparative Policy Analysis (Routledge, 2017); Policy Work in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 2017); the Handbook of Policy Formulation (Edward Elgar, 2017); Varieties of Governance (Palgrave, 2015); and Policy Paradigms in Theory and Practice (Palgrave, 2015). Gregory J. Inwood is  Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration, and a member of the Yeates School of Graduate Studies, at Ryerson University. His research interests include Canadian federalism, the Canadian political economy, public administration and Canadian-American relations. Carolyn M. Johns is Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University. Her research interests and areas of expertise include policy implementation, public administration, intergovernmental administrative relations, network analysis, environmental policy, water policy, and policy capacity issues in the public sector. She is currently Principal Investigator of a Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada project focused on complex transboundary governance and policy implementation in the North American Great Lakes and Rio Grande/Rio Bravo regions. Rachel Laforest is Associate Professor and Head of the Public Policy and Third Sector Initiative in the School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University in Canada. Her areas of expertise are the study of governance and inter-sectoral collaboration. Her current research interests focus on poverty reduction strategies, mental health and addictions, and education policy. She is also interested in intergovernmental relations and Canadian politics.  Andrea Lawlor is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, King’s University College, Western Ontario. Her research focuses on media’s role in the policy process, particularly in areas of migration, social policy and election finance policy. Her work can be found in the Journal of Social Policy, the Canadian Journal of Political Science and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, among others.  Evert A. Lindquist is Professor in the School of Public Administration, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He is the Editor of Canadian

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Public Administration, the journal of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada. Justin Longo is Assistant Professor and Cisco Research Chair in Digital Governance in the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Regina. His research focuses on the social and governance implications of advanced digital technologies. Marguerite Marlin is a PhD candidate in political science at McMaster University. She works as the Deputy Editor of iPoliticsINTEL in Ottawa, which provides timely and non-partisan reports on proceedings and events at the Parliament of Canada. Allan M. Maslove is Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus in the School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University. His research centres on public budgeting and on the financing of healthcare in Canada, with a focus on the federal-provincial fiscal arrangements. Kathleen McNutt is Executive Director and Professor in the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Regina. Her research interests focus on digital government, climate policy, and energy. Andrea Migone is Director of Research and Outreach at the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC). He specializes in public policy and public administration. Michael J. Prince is Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy in the Faculty of Human and Social Development, University of Victoria. Prince teaches courses in public policy and practice as well as activism and advocacy, and his current research interests include: trends in Canadian social policy; federal-provincial relations; trauma of veterans; pension reform; indigenous governance; and disability politics and policy issues. Ken Rasmussen is a Professor of Public Management in the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Regina. He was a founding director of the JSGS and has also been the head of the Political Science Department at the University of Regina. He has PhD in political science from the University of Toronto and is a member of the editorial board for Canadian Public Administration, and Public Management Review. He is the author of dozens of articles on public management and public policy issues as well as several books, most recently as a co-author of Governance and Public Policy in Canada: A View from the Provinces (University of Toronto Press, 2013).

xii

Notes on contributors

Stephanie Ross  is Associate Professor in the School of Labour Studies at McMaster University. Her research and teaching focuses on public sector unionism, union renewal, and democracy in working-class and social movement organizations. Current areas of  research include public sector unions’ unique sources of power, the strategic implications for unions of deindustrialization, antiunion sentiment in Canada, and the emergence and potential of new forms of worker organizing. With Larry Savage, she has edited two books, Rethinking the Politics of Labour in Canada (Fernwood, 2012) and Public Sector Unions in the Age of Austerity (Fernwood, 2013), and co-authored another, Building a Better World: An Introduction to the Labour Movement in Canada (Fernwood, 2015). She is also president of the Canadian Association for Work and Labour Studies. Robert Shepherd is Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University. His research spans public management and governmental reform, indigenous public management, ethics, and policy and programme evaluation. He is interested in how public accountability and oversight systems intersect to improve public management and governance systems. In addition, his research extends to understanding how governmental programme evaluation functions can improve public policy and decision-making. He was President of the Canadian Association of Programs in Public Administration from 2016–2018. Kimberly Speers is currently an Assistant Teaching Professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Victoria, where she also serves as the project advisor for students in the MPA programme. Dr. Speers teaches regularly with the national local government programme operated by the University of Alberta and Dalhousie University. She was formerly a management consultant with two international consulting firms.   Andrew Stritch teaches political studies in the Department of Politics and International Studies at Bishop’s University in Quebec. He obtained his PhD in politics from Queen’s University and has been researching and writing in the areas of public policy, business-government relations, policy analysis and advocacy coalitions. Christopher Stoney is Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University. His research in public management focuses on governance at the federal and municipal levels of government and his policy interests include infrastructure, transportation and urban sustainability. Seck Tan is Assistant Professor at Singapore Institute of Technology. His research focuses on climate change, environmental economics and sustainable development. He holds a PhD in public policy from the National University of Singapore.

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Adam Wellstead is Associate Professor of Public Policy in the Department of Social Sciences at Michigan Tech University. His research interests include investigating multi-level governance arrangements in the natural resource sector, measuring policy capacity and evidence-based policymaking, policy mechanisms, and theories of the policy process. Paul Wilson is an Associate Professor in the Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management at Carleton University in Ottawa.  He has worked as a senior political advisor both in government and opposition, including as Director of Policy in the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada from 2009 to 2011, and with ministers at the Department of Justice, Treasury Board and Human Resources and Skills Development from 2006 to 2009.

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Editors’ introduction to the series Professor Iris Geva-May and Professor Michael Howlett, ILPA series editors Policy analysis is a relatively new area of social scientific inquiry, owing its origins to developments in the US in the early 1960s. Its main rationale is systematic, evidence-based, transparent, efficient, and implementable policymaking. This component of policymaking is deemed key in democratic structures allowing for accountable public policies. From the US, policy analysis has spread to other countries, notably in Europe in the 1980s and 1990s and in Asia in the 1990s and 2000s. It has taken, respectively one to two more decades for programmes of public policy to be established in these regions preparing cadres for policy analysis as a profession. However, this movement has been accompanied by variations in the kinds of analysis undertaken as US-inspired analytical and evaluative techniques have been adapted to local traditions and circumstances, and new techniques shaped in these settings. In the late 1990s this led to the development of the field of comparative policy analysis, pioneered by Iris Geva-May, who initiated and founded the Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, and whose mission has been advanced with the support of editorial board members such as Laurence E. Lynn Jr., first coeditor, Peter deLeon, Duncan McRae, David Weimer, Beryl Radin, Frans van Nispen, Yukio Adachi, Claudia Scott, Allan Maslove and others in the US and elsewhere. While current studies have underlined differences and similarities in national approaches to policy analysis, the different national regimes which have developed over the past two to three decades have not been thoroughly explored and systematically evaluated in their entirety, examining both sub-national and non-executive governmental organisations as well as the non-governmental sector; nor have these prior studies allowed for either a longitudinal or a latitudinal comparison of similar policy analysis perceptions, applications, and themes across countries and time periods. The International Library for Policy Analysis (ILPA) series fills this gap in the literature and empirics of the subject. It features edited volumes created by experts in each country, which inventory and analyse their respective policy analysis systems. To a certain extent the series replicates the template of Policy Analysis in Canada edited by Dobuzinskis, Howlett and Laycock (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007). Each ILPA volume surveys the state of the art of policy analysis in governmental and non-governmental organisations in each country using the common template derived from the Canadian collection in order to provide for each volume in the series comparability in terms of coverage and approach. Each volume addresses questions such as: What do policy analysts do? What techniques and approaches do they use? What is their influence on policymaking in that country? Is there a policy analysis deficit? What norms and values guide xv

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the work done by policy analysts working in different institutional settings? Contributors focus on the sociology of policy analysis, demonstrating how analysts working in different organisations tend to have different interests and to utilise different techniques. The central theme of each volume includes historical works on the origins of policy analysis in the jurisdiction concerned, and then proceeds to investigate the nature and types, and quality, of policy analysis conducted by governments (including different levels and orders of government). It then moves on to examine the nature and kinds of policy analytical work and practices found in non-governmental actors such as think tanks, interest groups, business, labour, media, political parties, non-profits and others. Each volume in the series aims to compare and analyse the significance of the different styles and approaches found in each country and organisation studied, and to understand the impact these differences have on the policy process. Together, the volumes included in the ILPA series serve to provide the basic data and empirical case studies required for an international dialogue in the area of policy analysis, and an eye-opener on the nuances of policy analysis applications and implications in national and international jurisdictions. Each volume in the series is leading edge and has the promise to dominate its field and the textbook market for policy analysis in the country concerned, as well as being of broad comparative interest to markets in other countries. The ILPA is published in association with the International Comparative Policy Analysis Forum, and the Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, whose mission is to advance international comparative policy analytic studies. The editors of each volume are leading members of this network and are the best-known scholars in each respective country, as are the authors contributing to each volume in their particular domain. The book series as a whole provides learning insights for instruction and for further research in the area and constitutes a major addition to research and pedagogy in the field of comparative policy analysis and policy studies in general. We welcome to the ILPA series Volume 13, Policy Analysis in Canada, edited by Laurent Dobuzinskis and Michael Howlett, and thank the editors and the authors for their outstanding contribution to this important encyclopedic database. Iris Geva-May Professor of Policy Studies, Baruch College at the City University of New York, Professor Emerita Simon Fraser University; Founding President and Editor-in-chief, International Comparative PolicyForum and Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis Michael Howlett Burnaby Mountain Professor, Department of Political Science, Simon Fraser University, and Yong Pung How Chair Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

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ONE

Policy analysis in Canada: an introduction Laurent Dobuzinskis and Michael Howlett

Introduction In this volume, in the context of the means and mandate of the International Library of Policy Analysis book series, we hope to help lay the foundations for a more systematic and comparative understanding of policy analysis practices in Canada than has hitherto been available, and thereby contribute to enhanced performance and utilization of the analytical work undertaken both within Canadian governments and in those organizations that wish to influence Canadian public policy. The academic literature has often distinguished between policy study and policy analysis and the essays and arguments found in this volume fit at the nexus between these two approaches. The former term refers to the study of policy—that is, how to better understand policymaking processes, actors and outcomes—while the latter refers to the study of policymaking for policy—that is, to improve practice. Policy studies, the subject of an earlier volume by the editors (Dobuzinskis, Howlett & Laycock, 1996), is conducted mainly by academics, and relates to the study of ‘meta-policy’ or the overall nature of the activities of the state. It is generally concerned with understanding the development, logic and implications of state policy processes and the models used by investigators to analyze those processes. “Policy analysis,” by comparison, refers to applied social and scientific research— but also involving more implicit forms of practical knowledge—pursued by government officials and non-governmental organizations usually directed at designing, implementing, and evaluating policies, programmes and other courses of action adopted or contemplated by public authorities. In a general sense, it is ‘the disciplined application of intellect to public problems’ (Pal, 2010, p. 15). Policy analysis in this sense can be traced back to the wartime planning activities and ‘scientific management’ thinking of the mid-twentieth century. It was then more widely applied in the 1960s and 1970s to large-scale social and economic planning processes in areas such as defence, urban re-development and budgeting—especially as a result of the implementation of the Planning Programming Budgeting System (PPBS) in the United States, Canada and other countries (Heineman et al., 1990; Garson, 1986; see also Lindblom, 1958; Dobuzinskis, 1977; Wildavsky, 1979; Starling, 1979).

1

Policy analysis in Canada

Since then, as chronicled by the country volumes in the ILPA series, ‘policy analysis’ has spread through the globe with professional associations and dedicated schools and teaching programmes developing in many countries. At the same time, these volumes show how the movement towards the application of scientific precepts to policy questions continues to be moderated by adherence to older, more partisan political modes of decision-making and programme planning (Webber, 1986b), and despite a discernible trend toward professionalization, a variety of actors continue to contribute diverse ideas to policy debates. It may well be that the quality of democratic deliberation hinges on the preservation of this diversity, in the sense that not all interests can be granted fair treatment by professional experts whose theoretical knowledge does not always adequately relate to the circumstances experienced by particular groups or individuals. Tolerating a diversity of approaches can prepare the ground for democratic deliberation and the active search for untapped sources of more or less implicit knowledge. This is true in Canada as it is in the other countries examined by the books in the ILPA Series. The growth of what some academics refer to as ‘the policy analysis movement’ represents an effort to reform certain aspects of government behaviour (Aberbach & Rockman, 1989). Policy analysis texts usually describe a range of qualitative and quantitative techniques which analysts are expected to apply in specific circumstances, providing advice to decision-makers about optimal strategies and outcomes to pursue in the resolution of public problems (MacRae & Wilde, 1976; Patton & Sawicki, 1993; Weimer & Vining, 1999; Irwin, 2003). This ‘positivist’ or modern approach to policy analysis has dominated the field for decades since its inception in the post-World War II United States (Radin, 2000). It is similar to earlier movements to root out corruption and partisan patronage in government appointments and tendering or to improve the representativeness of civil servants and officials. The policy analysis movement represents the efforts of actors inside and outside formal political decision-making processes to improve policy outcomes by applying systematic evaluative rationality to the development and implementation of policy options (Meltsner, 1976). Studies of the actual behaviour and job performance of policy analysts contained in the ILPA series and others have challenged the view often put forward in academic texts that policy analysis is all about the neutral, competent and objective performance of tasks associated with the application of a small suite of technical policy analytical tools (Boardman et al., 2001; Boston, 1994; Durning & Osama, 1994; Patton & Sawicki, 1993). This brings to the fore the question of what policy analysts actually do in contemporary governmental and non-governmental organizations. Related to this are questions regarding their training and the resources that would be appropriate to allow them to meet the requisites of evidence-based policymaking (State Services Commission, 1999; Weller & Steven, 1998).

2

An introduction

At present, only very weak and partial, usually anecdotal, information exists on the situations found in different countries. Over 30 years ago, Meltsner (1976) had observed in the case of the US that analysts undertook a number of roles in the policymaking process, most of which did not involve neutral information processing and analysis. Later observers, such as Radin (2000), Shulock (1999) and Gailmard and Patty (2007), observed much the same situation along with a propensity for politicians to continually re-enact the same failed policies in many problem areas (Schultz, 2007). In the UK and Germany for example, contrary to the picture of carefully recruited analysts trained in policy schools to undertake specific types of micro-economic-inspired policy analysis (Weimer & Vining, 1999), investigators such as Page and Jenkins (2005) and Fleischer (2009) have provided empirical evidence that British and German policymaking typically features a group of ‘policy process generalists’ who rarely, if ever, deal with policy matters in the substantive areas in which they were trained and who have, in fact, very little training in formal policy analysis techniques such as cost–benefit analysis or risk assessment. As Page and Jenkins conclude: The broad features of our characterization of UK policy bureaucracy are that policy officials at relatively junior levels are given substantial responsibility for developing and maintaining policy and servicing other, formally superior officials or bodies, often by offering technical advice and guidance. These people are not technical specialists in the sense that they develop high levels of technical expertise in one subject or stay in the same job for a long time. They are often left with apparently substantial discretion to develop policy because they often receive vague instructions about how to do their jobs, are not closely supervised, and work in an environment that is in most cases not overtly hierarchical. (Page & Jenkins, 2005, p. 168) Similar findings have been made in the cases of the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand by, respectively, Hoppe and Jeliazkova (2006), Weller and Stevens (1998), and Boston et al. (1996). In Canada, early works in the late 1970s and early 1980s on the emerging policy analysis professions provided little empirical evidence of what analysts actually did in practice (Prince, 1979; Prince & Chenier, 1980). It simply assumed that they would contribute to the increased rationality of policymaking through the application of systematic analytical techniques such as cost–benefit analysis to the evaluation of policy alternatives. Studies undertaken by and of federal government analysts, however, raised doubts about this picture (French, 1980; Hartle, 1978). Later studies in the 1990s also noted the growth and subsequent decline of employment of policy analysts in government and their limited capacity for developing long-term strategic advice to governments (Bennett & McPhail, 1992; Hollander & Prince, 1993). Work since the early 1990s has suggested that the tasks of policy analysts may be shifting, as in the UK and the other countries cited above, towards policy process design and network 3

Policy analysis in Canada

management activities, and away from ‘formal’ types of policy analysis (Howlett & Lindquist, 2004; Lindquist, 1992; Dobuzinskis et al., 2007). More and more, such findings have challenged the positivist understanding of policy analysis as “speaking truth to power” (Wildavsky, 1979). Empirically, scholars have focused attention on practical difficulties associated with the application of formal analytical techniques, such as cost–benefit analysis, to many policy problems (Hahn & Dudley, 2004). They have targeted the extent to which uncertainty and ambiguity in problem definition and evaluation have been downplayed by proponents of such techniques (Morgan & Henrion, 1990; Dunn, 2004) and have questioned the extent to which these techniques are actually used in practice. Conceptually, a range of ‘post-positivist’ critics of conventional policy analysis have noted how analyses can be biased towards promoting certain implicit or explicit goals (Yanow, 1992), and how traditional analytical techniques embody epistemological biases towards particularly instrumental conceptions of public policy problems and their solutions, thereby ruling out alternative conceptions and courses of action by fiat or definition (Carrier & Wallace, 1990; Dixon & Dogan, 2004). These critiques of the rational biases of the policy ‘sciences’ are not new (Tribe, 1972; Nelson, 1977; Banfield, 1980) and the epistemological challenges posed to the traditional formal techniques used in the discipline are not devastating (Lynn, 1999) but these critiques of the ‘positivist’ techniques and orientation of modern policy analysis have led to several developments in the field, nonetheless. Most noticeably, such criticisms have spawned the emergence of a newer ‘postpositivist’ or ‘post-modern’ approach focused much less on quantitative methods and much more on process-related techniques for understanding and affecting policy discourses, frames, ideas and arguments which downplay expert discourse in favour of more broad, open and diverse, public deliberation and discussion (Radin, 2000; Kirp, 1992; Fischer, 2003; Hajer & Wagenaar, 2003; Walters et al., 2000). This is different from the efforts of other scholars to develop more accurate depictions of actually existing patterns of policy analysis and influence, be they ‘positivist’ or ‘post-positivist,’ and how their practice differs across organizations and jurisdictions. These studies have found that (a) different styles of policy analysis can be found in different organizations and jurisdictions with some more ‘traditional’ and others more participatory (Mayer et al., 2004; Jenkins-Smith, 1982); and (b) that these styles are not random or completely manipulable by policy actors but are linked to larger patterns of political behaviour and institutions which constitute quasi-permanent features of the policy analysis landscape (Geva-May, 2002a; 2002b; Hajer, 2003). The essays in this volume fit within this approach to understanding and studying policy analysis. They offer detailed empirical overviews of the actual practices of policy analysis practiced in different organizational settings in one country, Canada. Studies in Canada are limited (Prince, 1979; Prince & Chenier, 1980; Hollander 4

An introduction

& Prince, 1993), but those of other countries such as the Netherlands, France, the UK and New Zealand emphasize the significance of training and overall approach taken to assessing the impact of policy analyses on policy outcomes (Hawke, 1983; Don, 2004; Smith, 1999; Bhatta, 2002; Young et al., 2002; see on Canada, Cohn, 2004; Pal, 1985). Following this lead, the chapters and the book as a whole note the need for better empirical research into the sociology of policy analysis in Canada. They ask, and answer, questions such as: Who is doing what in government and outside of it? Where are they trained? What techniques do they bring to the analysis? How dominant is, for example, the position held by certain key groups such as economists and lawyers (Nilsson et al., 2008; Cravens, 2004; Markoff & Montecinos, 1993; see also Bobrow, 1977; Aaron, 1992; Gardner, 2002)? They also ask what it means to be a policy ‘professional’ (Parsons, 2001; Abbott, 1988), and to what extent policy analysis in Canada is also practiced by actors who are not professionals in the usual sense of the term. And they enquire into how the rise of consultants has affected policymaking and outcomes (Lapsley & Oldfield, 2001). A second area of concern addressed in the book is how influential policy analysis is in terms of affecting the content, and timing, of policymaking. That is, how are the results of analysis transmitted to policymakers, if at all? And what is their impact? The chapters follow and apply insights from the existing literature on the utilization of knowledge by governments pioneered by such figures as Carole Weiss and William Dunn in the US, and try to move beyond the ‘two communities’ and ‘enlightenment’ metaphors of the early 1980s (Weiss, 1977; Dunn, 1980; 1983; Webber, 1983; 1986a). They follow up on work by Whiteman and Webber that was helpful in pointing out the significance of context to knowledge use (Whiteman, 1985; Webber, 1992), and more recent work by Lester and Wilds and Parsons on the need to address issues of the capacity of governments to both generate and absorb knowledge (Lester & Wilds, 1990; Parsons, 2004; Adams, 2004). In Canada, some path-breaking research by Landry and colleagues has provided some indication of the situation in this country, but the analyses presented here advance this discussion even further (Landry et al., 2003; 2001). These essays help develop clearer evaluation criteria for the quality of policy analysis in Canada and elsewhere. Although it got off to a good start, the evaluation of public policy analysis in Canada lags behind that in Europe, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Studies in those countries moved some distance towards the assessment of the needs of good policy analysis by the early 2000s (Thissen & Twaalfhoven, 2001; Sanderson, 2002) and the integration of those results into the design of educational and training programmes for professional policy analysts (Shulock, 1999; Radin, 2000; see also symposium contributions from Bobrow, deLeon & Longobardi, Dryzek, Ostrom, Pickus & Dostert, Smith & Ingram, and Weimer, 2002). There are many lessons for practitioners in government, NGOs and elsewhere in this volume about how their policy work can be improved. 5

Policy analysis in Canada

There are also pedagogical implications of these findings. Schools of public policy provide appropriate training for future policy analysts but must do so with a clear view not only of how analysis should be done but also how it is actually done in the many organizations which make up the policy analysis community in any country (Fleishman, 1990). Again, Canada has lagged behind in evaluating its current training (Light, 1999; Gow & Sutherland, 2004).

The organization of the book Tracing policy analysis in different guises and locations As Lindquist (1990) and Daniel Cohn in this volume note, policy actors are arrayed in three general ‘sets’ or ‘communities.’ The first set is composed of the ‘proximate decision-makers’ themselves—that is, the set of actors with authority to make policy decisions, including cabinets and executives as well as parliaments, legislatures and congresses, and senior administrators and officials delegated decision-making powers by those other bodies. The second set is composed of those ‘knowledge generators’ located in academia and research institutes who provide the scientific, economic and social scientific data upon which analyses are based and decisions made. The third set is composed of ‘knowledge brokers’ who serve as intermediaries between the knowledge generators and proximate decision-makers, re-packaging data and information into ‘usable’ form. These include permanent specialized research staff inside government as well as their temporary equivalents in commissions and task forces, and a large group of nongovernmental specialists arrayed in think tanks and interest groups, among others. To varying degrees, the chapters in this volume deal with all of these actors. Governments have always been involved in the analysis of public policies, both their own and those of other countries, and public officials who carry out analyses remain at the core of the knowledge brokering that occurs in government. However, in recent years public policy analysis has also been increasingly generated by analysts working for temporary or arm’s-length agencies of government, or for non-governmental organizations. Some of these analysts work for research councils, royal commissions, task forces, and other investigative bodies established by governments. Others work directly for groups affected by public policies, such as trade unions, corporations and business associations, or for private think tanks and research institutes, some of which have close ties with government agencies and pressure groups, or for political parties. Finally, some of these analysts work independently, most of them associated with the university system, while others earn a living as consultants employed by the growing number of private firms in this industry. The former set of analysts working for temporary government agencies can be thought of as existing ‘inside’ government along with ‘core’ actors, while the latter group of private and university sector employees operates ‘outside’ both the core and government itself. But these groups frequently exchange paradigmatic ideas and ways of framing policy problems. 6

An introduction

As the essays show, analysts working in different organizations tend to have distinct interests and to utilize specialized techniques in pursuing policy analysis. Analysts working for governments and for groups and corporations affected by public policies tend to focus their research on policy outcomes. They often have a direct interest in condemning or condoning specific policies on the basis of projected or actual impact on their client organization. Private think tanks and research institutes usually enjoy a fair amount of autonomy from governments, though some may be influenced by the preferences of their funding organizations. Nevertheless, they remain interested in the ‘practical’ side of policy issues and tend to concentrate either on policy outcomes or on the instruments and techniques that generate those outcomes. Academics, on the other hand, have a great deal of independence and usually have no direct personal stake in the outcome of specific policies. They can therefore examine public policies much more abstractly than do members of the other two groups and tend to grapple with the theoretical and methodological issues surrounding public policymaking. Some academics, especially economists, however, also enjoy lucrative side careers as consultants and experts and are thus sometimes more engaged in practical policy work than are their less disinterested counterparts. The essays contained in this volume examine each of these actors and their capacity to influence the policy process. Policy capacity is defined here as covering a wide range of factors associated with the government’s arrangements to review, formulate and implement policies within its jurisdictions. It includes “the nature and quality of the resources available for these purposes—whether in the public service or beyond—and the practices and procedures by which these resources are mobilized and used” (Fellegi, 1996, p. 6). While ‘policy capacity’ extends beyond analysis to include the actual administrative capacity of a government to undertake the day-to-day activities involved in policy implementation (Painter & Pierre, 2005; Peters, 1996), ‘policy analytical capacity’ is a more focussed concept related to knowledge acquisition and utilization in policy processes (Adams, 2004; Leeuw, 1991; Lynn, 1978; MacRae, 1991; Radaelli, 1995) and many of the essays deal with this issue in detail. They refer to the amount of basic research a government or other policy organization can conduct or access, its ability to apply statistical methods and advanced modelling techniques to this data and employ environmental scanning, trends analysis, and forecasting methods in order to gauge public opinion and attitudes, as well as those of interest groups and other major policy players, and to anticipate future policy impacts (O’Connor et al., 2007; Preskill & Boyle, 2008). They also examine the ability of actors to communicate policy-related messages to interested parties and stakeholders and includes ‘a department’s capacity to articulate its mediumand long-term priorities’ (Fellegi, 1996) and to integrate information into the decision-making stage of the policy process.1 These fundamental elements or components of policy analytical capacity are set out in Table 1.1.

7

Policy analysis in Canada

Table 1.1: Aspects of political analytical capacity Components Environmental scanning, trends analysis and forecasting methods Theoretical research Statistics, applied research and modeling Evaluation of the means of meeting targets/goals Consultation and managing relations Programme design, implementation monitoring and evaluation Department’s capacity to articulate its medium- and long-term priorities Policy analytical resources: quantity and quality of employees; budgets; access to external sources of expertise Source: Riddell, 2007.

The policy functions outlined above require either a highly trained, and hence expensive, workforce with excellent information collection and data processing capacities as well as the opportunity for employees to strengthen their skills (O’Connor, Roos & Vickers-Willis, 2007) or the ability to outsource policy research to similarly qualified personnel in private or semi-public organizations such as universities, think tanks, research institutes and consultancies (Boston, 1994). They also require sufficient vertical and horizontal coordination between participating organizations to ensure that research being undertaken is relevant and timely. ‘Boundary-spanning’ links between governmental and non-governmental organizations are also critical (Weible, 2008). As Anderson (1996) noted, “a healthy policy-research community outside government can play a vital role in enriching public understanding and debate of policy issues, and it serves as a natural complement to policy capacity within government” (p. 486). Whether or not, and to what degree, government and non-governmental policy actors have the capacity to actually fulfil these tasks is an important empirical question (Turnpenny et al., 2008) which the essays in this volume go some distance towards answering.

The content of the book The book is divided into six parts. Following this Introduction, Part I includes two chapters: one by Stephen Brooks and the other by Michael Howlett and colleagues. These chapters examine the development of the policy analysis profession in Canada and the techniques used by analysts in their work in government, NGOs and as consultants. Part II looks at policy analysis in different levels of government and features chapters on the federal, provincial and local governments by Robert P. Shepherd and Christopher Stoney, Ken Rasmussen, and Daniel Henstra. 8

An introduction

This is followed by Part III, on analysis in Canadian executives and legislatures featuring chapters by Jonathan Craft and Paul Wilson on central executives, Evert A. Lindquist on civil servants, Kimberly Speers on consultants, Ted Glenn on legislative staff and Carolyn M. Johns and Gregory Inwood on Commissions of Inquiry. Part IV then looks at policy analysis in non-governmental organizations. It includes work by Greg Flynn and Marguerite Marlin on Canadian political parties, Donald Abelson on think tanks; Andrew Stritch on business associations; Rachel Laforest on the voluntary sector; Bryan Evans and Stephanie Ross on the labour movement; Andrea Lawlor on the traditional media; and Justin Longo and Kathleen McNutt on new media and, more specifically, the ‘big data’ they generate. Part V features chapters by Daniel Cohn on academics and Johanu Botha, Iris Geva-May and Allan M. Maslove on pedagogical practices. The concluding Part VI consists of an essay by Michael J. Prince examining past and future trends in analysis in Canada. Part I addresses the question: Who are the policy analysts and what do they do? In Chapter Two, Stephen Brooks argues that although trained in different disciplines, policy analysts in Canada can justifiably be characterized as forming a professional body of experts. In that sense, the expectations of the founder of the ‘policy sciences’ movement some 50 years ago have been fulfilled, but not the hope that policymaking would become more rationalized and informed by technically sound analysis. As it turns out, professional analysts supply recommendations that are grounded in distinct normative perspectives or reflect different organizational interests. Michael Howlett et al. (Chapter Three) provide data about the disciplinary background of policy analysts in government (federal and provincial) and about private consultants. A degree in business management is the second most common specialization for all analysts in the sample. For government analysts, the most common degree is in political science; for private consultants, it is in economics. In response to questions about the techniques they use, all analysts report making extensive use of brainstorming, but there are also noteworthy differences both between consultants and government policy analysts, and among the latter across the various departments and agencies. Perhaps because of their dominant background in economics, consultants are slightly more likely to use quantitative techniques such as cost–benefit analysis, sophisticated modelling and Monte-Carlo simulation. Federal and provincial government analysts in departments of finance are also more likely to use cost–benefit analysis and financial impact models. But all things considered, the methods used depend very much on the context in which analysts work. The extant literature reveals a picture of a ‘lumpy’ or uneven distribution of policy analytical capacity, varying by level of government and by department or agency involved. The federal government and several provinces eliminated their deficits in the late 1990s and began to revitalize their civil services in their newfound surplus 9

Policy analysis in Canada

positions. Federal government policy capacity needed re-energizing after the cuts of the 1980s and 1990s, particularly in key departments tasked to assist in identifying new priorities and strategies (Lindquist & Desveaux, 1998). From then on, a slow process of rebuilding the policy capacity of the federal government has been under way but there have been setbacks, and it has not worked equally well for all departments and agencies. Part II of this volume provides an up-to-date assessment of this impression. This is an opportune moment for doing so because, as Robert P. Shepherd and Christopher Stoney noted in Chapter Four, things are changing for the federal policy community under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. This is happening against a background of more than a decade of budget cuts and an arguably counterproductive and excessive emphasis on accountability which stifled innovation and diminished policy capacity in many departments. Also, noteworthy has been the increasing influence of political staff, which is probably here to stay (see Chapter Seven by Jonathan Craft and Paul Wilson in this volume). Three initiatives are under way since Prime Minister Trudeau took office: Blueprint/Destination 2020, innovation hubs, and the Policy Communities project. Destination 2020 sets a framework for facilitating innovation in the public service. The innovation hubs are a key component of this strategy; modelled on “innovation hubs” (or “labs”) that have become a common feature in many organizations, the Central Innovation Hub is tasked to provide new policy ideas to the Privy Council, such as new methodologies for measuring the impact of policies; some departments and agencies have established more specialized “hubs.” The Policy Communities project is designed to enhance the competencies of existing talents in the public service and to recruit new talents. Whether these initiatives will be sufficient to steer the public service away from short termism remains to be seen. Evidence at the provincial, territorial and local levels—although much less extensive than at the federal level—suggests that policy analytical capacity at these levels was much weaker than at the federal level until recently (McArthur, 2007; Rasmussen, 1999; Stewart & Smith, 2007), leading to a short-term focus in many policies and programmes adopted at these levels of government. In the last two decades, efforts have been underway in many jurisdictions to systematically grapple with this issue—for example, the Knowledge and Information Services initiative in British Columbia, the Policy Innovation and Leadership Secretariat (housed in the Cabinet Office) in Ontario,2 as well as cabinet-level initiatives in the Yukon, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador and Alberta (Executive Research Group, 1999; Hicks & Watson, 2007; Singleton, 2001)—but their impact has been limited. Ken Rasmussen (Chapter Five) finds that the provinces have continued to improve their policy capacity but that these efforts remain to some extent invisible because policy resources at the provincial level are not as heavily concentrated in central agencies, as they are in Ottawa, but rather are hidden “within the organizational labyrinth that is to be found even in the smallest provincial governments.” While abstract policy analysis does occur in larger provinces such as Ontario and Quebec, the provincial scene reveals “less conversation and more action; less 10

An introduction

forecasting and more measurement; less planning and more reporting; and less intellectual puzzling and more political powering.” About the latter, ‘political powering,’ provincial public servants are singularly focused on the political goals of the Premier. The demand and supply of policy analysis at the municipal level parallels in some ways the situation at other levels of government, but with some interesting particularities, as Daniel Henstra (Chapter Six) shows. Because of the scarcity of resources faced by local governments, there is an expectation that staff should provide skilled advice about the optimal use of fiscal and human resources. As far as the supply of policy analysis to municipal policymakers is concerned, Henstra reports that the two most commonly used techniques are environmental scanning (that is, assessing how other municipalities have addressed an issue) and cost–benefit analysis; other important tools include strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis, and facilitating public consultation and public engagement. The chapters in Part III revisit some of these issues but this time focusing on institutional mechanisms rather than on levels of government. In Chapter Seven, Jonathan Craft and Paul Wilson shed some light on the ways in which the ‘central executive’ of the federal government (Prime Minister’s Office, Privy Council Office, Finance, and Treasury Board Secretariat) both produce their own analysis and “contest, direct, and coordinate policy analysis originating elsewhere in government.” Evert A. Lindquist examines in Chapter Eight how on-going changes and trends in governance pose new challenges to recruiting policy analysts with the appropriate mix of talents and how policy expertise is mobilized in an increasingly complex institutional setting. One of the most salient manifestations of this deepening complexity is the increasingly important role played by external consultants. Kimberly Speers (Chapter Nine) also raises questions about consultants’ lack of appreciation for the uniqueness of the public service mission and about possible conflicts of interest between a focus on their own ‘bottom line’ and the quality of the advice or services they provide to policymakers. Moreover, management consultants working on contract with government agencies sometimes are also employed by private firms or organizations seeking to influence public policy. There is still much we do not know about these tangled interactions. In Chapter Ten, Ted Glenn challenges the ‘faulty’ perception that legislatures have been completely eclipsed by centralised executives. Legislatures still play a crucial role in holding the federal or provincial governments accountable, and parliamentary officers such as the Budget Officer or the Auditor-General significantly contribute to policy evaluation at the federal level. Finally, Carolyn Johns and Gregory J. Inwood (Chapter Eleven) argue that even though there are now more sources of data and information about policy issues, Commissions of Inquiry—which have been used in Canada for a great many decades—still remain an important part of the policy analysis landscape in Canada. They also find that over time these commissions have become more inclusive and participatory.

11

Policy analysis in Canada

As evidenced in the extant literature, capacity in the non-governmental sector is also very limited, except for some major Canadian business associations and corporations (Stritch, 2007). This is true of a majority of actors involved in the Canadian labour movement (Jackson & Baldwin, 2007), the voluntary sector (Phillips, 2007; Laforest & Orsini, 2005), as well as the media (Murray, 2007), think tanks (Abelson, 2002; 2007), and political parties (Cross, 2007), most of which have few if any permanent employees employed to conduct policy analysis of any kind. In many cases, analysis is carried out by consultants rather than paid staff, contributing to the transitory nature of much programme design and policy analysis in Canada. Even less is known, however, about activities of this ‘invisible public service’ (Bakvis, 2000; Perl & White, 2002; Saint Martin, 1998; Speers, 2007). The chapters in Part IV generally buttress this previous diagnostic. Andrew Stritch (Chapter Fourteen) shows that across seven parameters relevant to an assessment of policy analysis capacity, most business associations rank highly. Although a small proportion of these associations conduct no policy analysis, Stitch concludes that on the whole they “have impressive capabilities for analyzing public policy.” This cannot be said of the other participants in civil society. Rachel Laforest (Chapter Fifteen) argues that the complexity of contemporary policy problems creates a demand for inputs from a variety of sources. In principle, therefore, one could expect that voluntary associations would be major contributors to policy debates and would be called upon to offer policy advice, considering that they are present and active in practically all facets of civil society, and often deliver crucial services. The facts of the matter are less clear cut. While the new governance creates a need for the sort of policy analysis the voluntary sector could ideally produce, many organizations lack resources to accomplish much in that respect. Evans and Ross (Chapter Sixteen) underscore the declining influence of labour unions in society; this is compounded by the fact that while traditionally unions made active contributions to the policy design tasks of labour ministries, these ministries have been more or less sidelined by the contemporary trend toward centralization of policymaking in the Prime Minister or Premiers’ offices. Moreover, union-based policy units remain small. As for political parties, their democratic legitimacy ensures that they play a central role in policy debates and, if they hold power, they control the agenda. Nevertheless, as Flynn and Marlin (Chapter Twelve) note, political parties lack the resources to carry out in-depth policy analysis. One would expect that, by definition, think tanks produce relevant and carefully argued policy analysis. But as Donald Abelson (Chapter Thirteen) warns, it is difficult to generalize about think tanks because they are diverse and pursue different priorities—for example, some are more research oriented than others. Abelson points out that they tend to focus less on fundamental longterm problems and more on topical issues that provide opportunities for better positioning themselves in the “market of ideas,” because they must constantly be attentive to the image they project among their target publics. In that respect, 12

An introduction

they depend very much on the media. Andrea Lawlor (Chapter Seventeen) insists that the media “have taken on an increasingly influential role with respect to the design, implementation and critical evaluation of public policy.” This is not because media organizations engage in formal, technical policy analysis but rather because they play an indispensable role in conveying information between policymakers and the public. While the information generated by specialized policy analysts is sometimes much valued by policymakers, it certainly is not the only information they need to make appropriate decisions; they also need to communicate directly with citizens. But in the digital age, this process of ‘mediatizing’ is rapidly evolving. The digital media have profoundly transformed the conditions under which information is disseminated and accessed. From a strictly quantitative standpoint, much more information is available but it is not always “robust policy information.” Moreover, younger, educated and higher income users can navigate this new landscape better than others, but often communicate only with like-minded individuals. More recently, political actors have begun to make extensive use of these new media, sometimes to propagate ‘fake news’ that regular media would arguably have weeded out. This does not bode well for the further acceptance of evidence-based policy analysis. Justin Longo and Kathleen McNutt (Chapter Eighteen) bring to light another consequence of the digital revolution that has the potential to disrupt the way in which policy analysis has traditionally been conducted. The new game in town is “policy analytics.” Whereas traditionally policy analysts used data generated by instruments such as censuses and large-scale surveys that were typically designed and managed by government agencies, ‘analytics’ refers to the parsing of huge amounts of data generated on a daily basis by the users of social media and other on-line services, as well as by the emerging Internet-of-Everything. In this respect, governments are playing catch-up to corporations, which have easy and often proprietary access to these data. These new techniques can have promising applications, such as more diversified types of policy experimentation in which the interface between citizens and policy analysts is more direct and instructive than in more conventional pilot studies. But the drawback here is that analytics is often limited to correlations that can be meaningless; the danger is that carefully designed causal modelling could be displaced by methods that may be good for generating short-term predictions but have little explanatory power. Part V examines the contribution of academia to policy analysis. In Chapter Nineteen, Daniel Cohn challenges the “two communities” myth that pits practitioners “working in the trenches,” fully engaged with real world problems, against academics working on more theoretical problems in their proverbial ivory towers. This is not because no gap between academic researchers and policy advisors ever occurs but rather because there exists a “third community of knowledge brokers” who succeed, at least some of the time, to bridge that gap. Some academics act as knowledge brokers but they more typically are ‘pracademics’ who “follow career paths that simultaneously span” the two worlds 13

Policy analysis in Canada

or “regularly move between jobs in government and university appointments.” In Chapter Twenty, Johanu Botha, Iris Geva-May and Allan M. Maslove compare the curricula of public policy programmes in Canadian universities with those in place in American and European institutions. They make a distinction between policy analysis and policy research; the former is more applied and oriented toward outcomes, the latter is undertaken for its own sake and is more concerned with the policy process. American programmes privilege the teaching of policy analysis. By comparison, Canadian programmes tend to leave more room for policy research, although they are also largely focused on policy analysis. In Part VI, Michael J. Prince underlines the fact that each prime ministerial era is characterized by its own style but there is nevertheless a trend away from the ‘speaking truth to power’ model in which senior public servants acted as trusted advisors to their political masters, and in the direction of a multilayered system in which a multiplicity of actors, both within (political staffs) and outside government compete with in-house policy analysts. This trend is also noted by several other authors in this volume.

Conclusion Governments, and increasingly non-governmental actors, in Canada and elsewhere, are being asked to design effective long-term policy measures to deal with complex problems such as climate change and long-term unemployment. They are being asked to do so, however, without necessarily having the kinds of resources they require to avoid common policy failures through the use of enhanced evidence-based analytical techniques. In their 2006 study of the policy analytical activities undertaken in the US, the UK and several other European countries, Colebatch and Radin concluded that two areas currently exist as priorities for contemporary research work on policy analysis: 1. “We need more empirical research on the nature of policy work in specific contexts: how policy workers (and which sort) get a place at the table, how the question is framed, what discourse is accepted as valid, and how this work relates to the outcome at any point in time.” 2. “What sort of activity do practitioners see as policy work, and what sort of policy workers do they recognize?”“There are questions for teaching and professional preparation” which will derive from these first two studies. (Colebatch & Radin, 2006, p. 225) These are all important observations, both for the evaluation of the capacity of policy analytical communities to undertake high-level, long-term policy analysis and for the possibility of enhancing evidence-based policymaking processes and procedures in government. The set of jobs and duties actually performed by policy analysts in both government and non-governmental organizations is very closely 14

An introduction

tied to the resources they have at their disposal in terms of personnel and funding; the demand they face from clients and managers for high-quality results, and the availability of high-quality data and information on future trends. The chapters in this volume go a long way toward answering these questions. They provide original insights into the sociology of policy analysis in Canada, about ongoing changes in the ways in which policy relevant information is produced and communicated, as well as about how policy analysis is taught and researched. On that basis, one can tentatively conclude that policy capacity in Canada is improving but remains a concern in some areas. The solution to these challenges, however, cannot consist in a return to a golden age when an elite of professional advisors within the federal or provincial bureaucracies filtered the information that elected officials acted upon. Whether the public interest is fairly represented in the contemporary setting where a multiplicity of actors compete is a question that needs to be further investigated in light of the concerns that some authors expressed. Notes 1

2

The willingness of policymakers to use the information generated in the way it was intended to be used is not always present. On the ‘strategic’ and ‘argumentative’ vs ‘evaluative’ uses of research and analysis see Whiteman (1985) and Landry et al. (2003). This initiative has resulted in the creation of a Policy Innovation Hub, Strategy and Innovation Branch in the Ontario Cabinet Office with a “mandate is to support and accelerate policy innovation across the OPS and to coordinate with the federal Policy Innovation Hub in Privy Council Office” (Government of Ontario, 2017, p. 27).

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15

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Aucoin, Peter, and Herman Bakvis. 2005. “Public Service Reform and Policy Capacity: Recruiting and Retaining the Best and the Brightest.” In M. Painter, and J. Pierre (eds.) Challenges to State Policy Capacity: Global Trends and Comparative Perspectives, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 185–204. Bakvis, H. 1997. “Advising the Executive: Think Tanks, Consultants, Political Staff and Kitchen Cabinets.” In P. Weller, H. Bakvis, and R.A.W. Rhodes (eds.) The Hollow Crown: Countervailing Trends in Core Executives. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Bakvis, H. 2000. “Rebuilding Policy Capacity in the Era of the Fiscal Dividend: A Report from Canada.” Governance 13(1): 71–103. Banfield, Edward. 1980. “Policy Science as Metaphysical Madness.” In R.A. Goldwin (ed.) Bureaucrats, Policy Analysts, Statesmen: Who Leads? Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. Bennett, Scott, and Margaret McPhail. 1992. “Policy Process Perceptions of Senior Canadian Federal Civil Servants: A View of the State and Its Environment.” Canadian Public Administration 35(2): 299–316. Bernier, L., K. Brownsey and M. Howlett (eds.). 2005. Executive Styles in Canada: Cabinet Structures and Leadership Practices in Canadian Government. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Bhatta, Gambhir. 2002. “Evidence-Based Analysis and the Work of Policy Shops.” Australian Journal of Public Administration 61(3): 98–105. Boardman, Anthony E., David Greenberg and Aidan Vining (eds.). 2001. Cost– Benefit Analysis: Concepts and Practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Bobrow, David B. 1977. “Beyond Markets and Lawyers.” American Journal of Political Science 21(2): 415–433. Bobrow, David B. 2002. “Knights, Dragons and the Holy Grail.” The Good Society 11(1): 26–31. Boston, Jonathan. 1994. “Purchasing Policy Advice: The Limits of Contracting Out.” Governance 7(1): 1–30. Boston, Jonathan, John Martin, June Pallot, and Pat Walsh. 1996. Public Management: The New Zealand Model. Auckland: Oxford University Press. Bourgon, Jocelyn. 1996. “Strengthening Our Policy Capacity.” In C.C.f.M. Development (eds.) Rethinking Policy: Strengthening Policy Capacity – Conference Proceedings. Ottawa: Ministry of Supply and Services, 22–30. Carrier, Harold D., and William A. Wallace. 1990. “A Philosophical Comparison of Decision Aid Techniques for the Policy Analyst.” Evaluation and Program Planning 13: 293–301. Cohn, Daniel. 2004. “The Best of Intentions, Potentially Harmful Policies: A Comparative Study of Scholarly Complexity and Failure.” Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis 6(1): 39–56. Colebatch, H.K., and Beryl A. Radin. 2006. “Mapping the Work of Policy.” In H.K. Colebatch (ed.) The Work of Policy: An International Survey. New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 217–226.

16

An introduction

Cravens, Hamilton. 2004. The Social Sciences Go to Washington: The Politics of Knowledge in the Postmodern Age. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Cross, William. 2007. “Policy Study and Development in Canada’s Political Parties.” In L. Dobuzinskis, M. Howlett, and D. Laycock (eds.) Policy Analysis in Canada: The State of the Art. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 233–242. Davies, P. 2004. Is Evidence-Based Government Possible? Jerry Lee Lecture, presented at the 4th annual Campbell Collaboration Colloquium. Washington DC, USA. deLeon, Peter, and Ralph C. Longobardi. 2002. “Policy Analysis in the Good Society.” The Good Society 11(1): 37–41. Dixon, John, and Rhys Dogan. 2004. “The Conduct of Policy Analysis: Philosophical Points of Reference.” Review of Policy Research 21(4): 559–579. Dobuzinskis, Laurent. 1977. “Rational Government: Policy, Politics and Political Science.” In T.A. Hockin (ed.) Apex of Power: The Prime Minister and Political Leadership in Canada, 2nd edn. Scarborough, ON: Prentice-Hall. Dobuzinskis, Laurent, Michael Howlett, and David Laycock (eds.). 1996. Policy Studies in Canada: The State of the Art. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Dobuzinskis, Laurent, Michael Howlett, and David Laycock (eds.). 2007. Policy Analysis in Canada: The State of the Art. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Don, E.J.H. 2004. “How Econometric Models Help Policy Makers: Theory and Practice.” de economist 152(2): 177–195. Dryzek, John S. 2002. “A Post-Positivist Policy-Analytic Travelogue.” The Good Society 11(1): 32–36. Dunn, William N. 1980. “The Two-Communities Metaphor and Models of Knowledge Use.” Knowledge: Creation, Diffusion, Utilization 1(4): 515–53. Dunn, William N. 1983. “Measuring Knowledge Use.” Knowledge: Creation, Diffusion, Utilization 5(1): 120–133. Dunn, William N. 2004. Public Policy Analysis: An Introduction. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall. Dunn, William N., and R.M. Kelly (eds.). 1992. Advances in Policy Studies Since 1950. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. Durning, Dan, and Will Osama. 1994. “Policy Analysts’ Roles and Value Orientations: An Empirical Investigation Using Q Methodology.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 13(4): 629–657. Executive Research Group. 1999. Investing in Policy: Report on Other Jurisdictions and Organizations. Toronto: Ministry of the Environment. Fellegi, I. 1996. Strengthening our Policy Capacity. Ottawa: Deputy Ministers Task Force. Fischer, Frank. 2003. Reframing Public Policy: Discursive Politics and Deliberative Practices. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Fleischer, Julia. 2009. “Power Resources of Parliamentary Executives: Policy Advice in the UK and Germany.” West European Politics 32(1): 196–214. Fleishman, Joel L. 1990. “A New Framework for Integration: Policy Analysis and Public Management.” American Behavioural Scientist 33(6): 733–754.

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French, R. 1980. How Ottawa Decides: Planning and Industrial Policymaking 1968–1980. Toronto: Lorimer. Gailmard, Sean, and John W. Patty. 2007. “Slackers and Zealots: Civil Service, Policy Discretion, and Bureaucratic Expertise.” American Journal of Political Science 51(4): 873–889. Gardner, Bruce. 2002. “Economists and the 2002 Farm Bill: What is the ValueAdded of Policy Analysis.” Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 3(1/2): 139–146. Garson, G. David. 1986. “From Policy Science to Policy Analysis: A Quarter Century of Progress.” In William N. Dunn (ed.) Policy Analysis: Perspectives, Concepts, and Methods. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, 3–22. Geva-May, Iris. 2002a. “From Theory to Practice: Policy Analysis, Cultural Bias and Organizational Arrangements.” Public Management Review 4(4): 581–591. Geva-May, Iris. 2000b. “Cultural Theory: The Neglected Variable in the Craft of Policy Analysis.” Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis 4(3): 243–266. Government of Ontario. 2017. Transforming the Ontario Public Service for the Future. https://files.ontario.ca/discussionpaper_aoda_en_july_13_2017.pdf Gow, J.I., and S.L. Sutherland. 2004. “Comparison of Canadian Masters Programs in Public Administration, Public Management and Public Policy.” Canadian Public Administration 47(3): 379–405. Hahn, Robert W., and Patrick Dudley. 2004. “How Well Does the Government Do Cost–Benefit Analysis?” Working Paper. Washington, DC: AEI–Brookings Joint Centre for Regulatory Studies. Hajer, Maarten. 2003. “Policy Without Polity? Policy Analysis and the Institutional Void.” Policy Sciences 36(2): 175–195. Hajer, Maarten and Hendrik Wagenaar (eds.). 2003. Deliberative Policy Analysis: Understanding Governance in the Network Society. London: Cambridge University Press. Hartle, D.G. 1978. “The Expenditure Budget Process in the Government of Canada.” Canada: Canadian Tax Foundation. Hawke, G.R. 1993. Improving Policy Advice. Wellington: Victoria University Institute of Policy Studies. Heineman, Robert A., William T. Bluhm, Steven A. Peterson, and Edward N. Kearny. 1990. The World of the Policy Analyst: Rationality, Values and Politics. Chatham, NJ: Chatham House. Hicks, Ron, and Peter Watson. 2007. Policy Capacity: Strengthening the Public Service’s Support to Elected Officials. Edmonton: Government of Alberta. Hollander, Marcus J., and Michael J. Prince. 1993. “Analytical Units in Federal and Provincial Governments: Origins, Functions and Suggestions for Effectiveness.” Canadian Public Administration 36(2): 190–224. Hoppe, Robert. 1999. “Policy Analysis, Science and Politics: From ‘Speaking Truth to Power’ to ‘Making Sense Together’.” Science and Public Policy 26(3): 201–210.

18

An introduction

Hoppe, Robert, and Margarita Jeliazkova. 2006. “How Policy Workers Define Their Job: A Netherlands Case Study.” In H.K. Colebatch (ed.) The Work of Policy: An International Survey. New York: Rowan and Littlefield, 35–60. Howlett, Michael, and Evert Lindquist. 2004. “Policy Analysis and Governance: Analytical and Policy Styles in Canada.” Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis 6(3): 225–249. Howlett, Michael, and M. Ramesh. 2003. Studying Public Policy: Policy Cycles and Policy Subsystems. Toronto: Oxford University Press. Howlett, Michael, M. Ramesh and Anthony Perl. 2009. Studying Public Policy: Policy Cycles and Policy Subsystems. Toronto: Oxford University Press. Ingram, H.M., and D.E. Mann. 1980. “Policy Failure: An Issue Deserving Analysis.” In H.M. Ingram, and D.E. Mann (eds.) Why Policies Succeed or Fail Beverly Hills: Sage, 11–32. Irwin, Lewis G. 2003. The Policy Analysts Handbook: Rational Problem Solving in a Political World. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. Jackson, Andrew, and Bob Baldwin. 2007. “Policy Analysis by the Labour Movement in a Hostile Environment.” In L. Dobuzinskis, M. Howlett, and D. Laycock (eds.) Policy Analysis in Canada: The State of the Art. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 260–272. Jackson, Peter M. 2007. “Making Sense of Policy Advice.” Public Money & Management 27(4): 257–64. Jenkins-Smith, Hank C. 1982. “Professional Roles for Policy Analysts: A Critical Assessment.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 2(1): 88–100. Kirp, David L. 1992. “The End of Policy Analysis.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 11(4): 693–696. Laforest, R., and M. Orsini. 2005. “Evidence-Based Engagement in the Voluntary Sector: Lessons from Canada.” Social Policy & Administration 39(5): 481–97. Landry, Réjean, Nabil Amara, and Moktar Lamari. 2001. “Utilization of Social Science Research Knowledge in Canada.” Research Policy 30(2): 333–349. Landry, R., M. Lamari, and N. Amara. 2003. “The Extent and Determinants of the Utilization of University Research in Government Agencies.” Public Administration Review 63(2): 192–205. Lapsley, Irvine and Rosie Oldfield. 2001. “Transforming the Public Sector: Management Consultants as Agents of Change.” The European Accounting Review 10(3): 523–543. Leeuw, F.L. 1991. “Policy Theories, Knowledge Utilization, and Evaluation.” Knowledge and Policy 4(3): 73–91. Lester, James P., and Leah J. Wilds. 1990. “The Utilization of Public Policy Analysis: A Conceptual Framework.” Evaluation and Program Planning 13: 313–319. Light, Paul C. 1999. The New Public Service. Washington, DC: Brookings Institute. Lindblom, Charles E. 1958. “Policy Analysis.” American Economic Review 48(3): 298–312

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Lindquist, Evert A. 1990. “The Third Community, Policy Inquiry and Social Scientists.” In S. Brooks and A.-G. Gagnon (eds.) Social Scientists: Policy and the State. New York: Praeger, 21–51. Lindquist, Evert A. 1992. “Public Managers and Policy Communities: Learning to Meet New Challenges.” Canadian Public Administration 35(2): 127–159. Lindquist, Evert and James Desveaux. 1998. Recruitment and Policy Capacity in Government. Ottawa: Public Policy Forum. Lynn Jr., L. 1978. Knowledge and Policy: The Uncertain Connection. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences. Lynn, Laurence E. 1999. “A Place at the Table: Policy Analysis, Its Postpositive Critics, and the Future of Practice.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 18(3): 411–424. McArthur, Doug. 2007. “Policy Analysis in Provincial Governments in Canada: From PPBS to Network Management.” In L. Dobuzinskis, M. Howlett and D. Laycock (eds.) Policy Analysis in Canada: The State of the Art. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 238–264. MacRae, D. 1991. “Policy Analysis and Knowledge Use.” Knowledge and Policy 4(3): 27–40. MacRae Jr., Duncan, and James A. Wilde. 1976. Policy Analysis for Public Decisions. North Scituate, MA: Duxbury Press. MacRae Jr., Duncan, and James A. Wilde. 1985. Policy Analysis for Public Decisions. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. Majone, Giandomenico. 1989. Evidence, Argument, and Persuasion in the Policy Process. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Markoff, John and Veronica Montecinos. 1993. “The Ubiquitous Rise of Economists.” Journal of Public Policy 13(1): 37–68. May, P.J. 1992. “Policy learning and failure.” Journal of Public Policy 12: 331–354. Mayer, I, P. Bots, and E. van Daalen. 2004. “Perspectives on Policy Analysis: A Framework for Understanding and Design.” International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management 4(1): 169–191. Meltsner, Arnold J. 1972. “Political Feasibility and Policy Analysis.” Public Administration Review 32: 859–867. Meltsner, Arnold J. 1976. Policy Analysts in the Bureaucracy. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Merton, R.K. 1936. “The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action.” American Sociological Review 6: 1894–1904. Morgan, M.G., and M. Henrion. 1990. Uncertainty: A Guide to Dealing with Uncertainty in Quantitative Risk and Policy Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Murray, Catherine. 2007. “The Media.” In L. Dobuzinskis, M. Howlett, and D. Laycock (eds.) Policy Analysis in Canada: The State of the Art. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 286–297. Nelson, Richard. 1997. The Moon and the Ghetto: An Assay on Public Policy Analysis. Chicago, IL: WW Norton. 20

An introduction

Nilsson, Mans, Andrew Jordan, John Turnpenny, Julia Hertin, Bjorn Nykvist, and Duncan Russel. 2008. “The Use and Non-Use of Policy Appraisal Tools in Public Policy Making: An Analysis of Three European Countries and the European Union.” Policy Sciences 41: 335–55. O’Connor, Alan, Goran Roos, Tony Vickers-Willis. 2007. “Evaluating an Australian Public Policy Organization’s Innovation Capacity.” European Journal of Innovation Management 10(4): 532–58. Ostrom, Elinor. 2002. “Policy Analysis in the Future of Good Society.” The Good Society 11(1): 42–48. Page, Edward C., and Bill Jenkins. 2005. Policy Bureaucracy: Governing with a Cast of Thousands. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Painter, M., and J. Pierre. 2005. Challenges to State Policy Capacity: Global Trends and Comparative Perspectives. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Pal, L.A. 1985. “Consulting Critics: A New Role for Academic Policy Analysts.” Policy Sciences 18: 357–369. Pal, L.A. 1993. Interests of State: The Politics of Language, Multiculturalism, and Feminism in Canada. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Pal, Leslie A. 2010. Beyond Policy Analysis: Public Issue Management in Turbulent Times, fourth edition. Toronto: ITP Nelson. Parsons, Wayne. 2001. “Modernising Policymaking for the Twenty First Century: The Professional Model.” Public Policy and Administration 16(3): 93–110. Parsons, Wayne. 2004. “Not Just Steering but Weaving: Relevant Knowledge and the Craft of Building Policy Capacity and Coherence.” Australian Journal of Public Administration 63(1): 43–57. Patton, Carl V., and David S. Sawicki. 1993. Basic Methods of Policy Analysis and Planning. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Perl, Anthony, and Donald J. White. 2002. “The Changing Role of Consultants in Canadian Policy Analysis.” Policy & Society 21(1): 49–73. Peters, B.G. 1996. The Policy Capacity of Government. Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Management Development. Peters, B.G., and A. Barker. 1993. Advising West European Governments: Inquiries, Expertise and Public Policy. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Phillips, Susan D. 2007. “Policy Analysis and the Voluntary Sector: Evolving Policy Styles.” In L. Dobuzinskis, M. Howlett, and D. Laycock (eds.) Policy Analysis in Canada: The State of the Art. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 272–284. Pickus, Noah M.J., and Troy Dostert. 2002. “Ethics, Civic Life and the Education of Policymakers.” The Good Society 11(1): 49–54. Preskill, Hallie, and Shanelle Boyle. 2008. “A Multidisciplinary Model of Evaluation Capacity Building.” American Journal of Evaluation 29(4): 443–459. Prince, Michael J. 1979. “Policy Advisory Groups in Government Departments.” In G.B. Doern and P. Aucoin (eds.) Public Policy in Canada: Organization, Process, Management. Toronto: Macmillan, 275–300.

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Prince, Michael J. 2007. “Soft Craft, Hard Choices, Altered Context: Reflections on 25 Years of Policy Advice in Canada.” In L. Dobuzinskis, M. Howlett, and D. Laycock (eds.) Policy Analysis in Canada: The State of the Art. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 95–106. Prince, Michael J., and John Chenier. 1980. “The Rise and Fall of Policy Planning and Research Units.” Canadian Public Administration 22(4): 519–541. Radaelli, C.M. 1995. “The Role of Knowledge in the Policy Process.” Journal of European Public Policy 2(2): 159–83. Radin, Beryl A. 2000. Beyond Machiavelli: Policy Analysis Comes of Age. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. Rasmussen, K. 1999. “Policy Capacity in Saskatchewan: Strengthening the equilibrium.” Canadian Public Administration 42(3): 331–348. Riddell, Norman. 2007. Policy Research Capacity in the Federal Government. Ottawa: Policy Research Initiative. Saint-Martin, Denis. 1998. “The New Managerialism and the Policy Influence of Consultants in Government: An Historical–Institutionalist Analysis of Britain, Canada and France.” Governance 11(3): 319-356. Sanderson, I. 2002. “Making Sense of ‘What Works’: Evidence-Based Policymaking as Instrumental Rationality?” Public Policy and Administration 17(3): 61–75. Savoie, D.J. 1999. Governing from the Centre: The Concentration of Power in Canadian Politics. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Schultz, David. 2007. “Stupid public policy ideas and other political myths.” Paper presented to the American Political Science Association. Chicago, IL; American Political Science Association. Shulock, N. 1999. “The Paradox of Policy Analysis: If it is not Used, Why Do We Produce So Much of It?” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 18(2): 226–244. Singleton, Jon. 2001. A Review of the Policy Capacity Between Departments. Winnipeg: Office of the Auditor-General. Smith, Andy. 1999. “Public Policy Analysis in Contemporary France: Academic Approaches, Questions and Debates.” Public Administration 77(1): 111–131. Smith, Steven Rathgeb, and Helen Ingram. 2002. “Rethinking Policy Analysis: Citizens, Community and the Restructuring of Public Services.” The Good Society 11(1): 55–60. Speers, Kimberly. 2007. “The Invisible Public Service: Consultants and Public Policy in Canada.” In L. Dobuzinskis, M. Howlett, and D. Laycock (eds.) Policy Analysis in Canada: The State of the Art. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 399–421. Starling, Grover. 1979. The Politics and Economics of Public Policy: An Introductory Analysis with Cases. Homewood, IL: Dorsey Press. State Services Commission. 1999. Essential Ingredients: Improving the Quality of Policy Advice. Wellington: New Zealand State Services Commission.

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Stewart, Kennedy, and Patrick J. Smith. 2007. “Immature Policy Analysis: Building Capacity in Eight Major Canadian Cities.” In L. Dobuzinskis, M. Howlett, and D. Laycock (eds.) Policy Analysis in Canada: The State of the Art. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 146–158. Stritch, Andrew. 2007. “Business Associations and Policy Analysis in Canada.” In L. Dobuzinskis, M. Howlett, and D. Laycock (eds.) Policy Analysis in Canada: The State of the Art. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 242–259. Sulitzeanu-Kenan, R., and C. Hood. 2005. “Blame Avoidance with Adjectives? Motivation, Opportunity, Activity and Outcome.” Paper for ECPR Joint Sessions, Blame Avoidance and Blame Management Workshop 14–20 April, Granada, Spain. Thissen, W.A.H., and Patricia G.J. Twaalfhoven. 2001. “Toward a Conceptual Structure for Evaluating Policy Analytic Activities.” European Journal of Operational Research 129: 627–649. Tribe, Laurence H. 1972. “Policy Science: Analysis or Ideology?” Philosophy and Public Affairs 2(1): 66–110. Turnpenny, John, Mans Nilsson, Duncan Russel, Andrew Jordan, Julia Hertin, and Bjorn Nykvist. 2008. “Why is Integrating Policy Assessment for Hard? A Comparative Analysis of the Institutional Capacity and Constraints.” Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 51(6): 759–775. Voyer, Jean-Pierre. 2007. “Policy Analysis in the Federal Government: Building the Forward-looking Policy Research Capacity.” In L. Dobuzinskis, M. Howlett, and D. Laycock (eds.) Policy Analysis in Canada: The State of the Art. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 123–131. Waller, Mike. 1992. “Evaluating Policy Advice.” Australian Journal of Public Administration 51(4): 440–449. Walters, Lawrence C., James Aydelotte, and Jessica Miller. 2000. “Putting More Public in Policy Analysis.” Public Administration Review 60(4): 349–359. Webber, David J. 1983. “Obstacles to the Utilization of Systematic Policy Analysis: Conflicting World Views and Competing Disciplinary Markets.” Knowledge, Creation, Diffusion, Utilization 4(4): 534–560. Webber, David J. 1986a. “Explaining Policymaker’s Use of Policy Information: The Relative Importance of the Two-Community Theory Versus DecisionMaker Orientation.” Knowledge, Creation, Diffusion, Utilization 7(3): 249–290. Webber, David J. 1986b. “Analyzing Political Feasibility: Political Scientists’ Unique Contribution to Policy Analysis.” Policy Studies Journal 14(4): 545–554. Webber, David J. 1992. “The Distribution and Use of Policy Knowledge in the Policy Process.” In W.N. Dunn, and R.M. Kelly (eds.) Advances in Policy studies since 1950. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 383–418. Weible, Christopher M. 2008. “Expert-based Information and Policy Subsystems: A Review and Synthesis.” Policy Studies Journal 36(4): 615–635. Weimer, David L. 2002. “Enriching Public Discourse: Policy Analysis in Representative Democracies.” The Good Society 11(1): 61–65.

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Weimer, David L., and Aidan R. Vining. 1999. Policy Analysis: Concepts and Practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Weiss, Carol H. 1977. “Research for Policy’s Sake: The Enlightenment Function of Social Science Research.” Policy Analysis 3(4): 531–545. Weiss, Carol H. 1990. “The Uneasy Partnership Endures: Social Science and Government.” In S. Brooks and A. G. Gagnon (eds.) Social Scientists, Policy, and the State. New York: Praeger, 97–111. Weller, Patrick, and Bronwyn Stevens. 1998. “Evaluating Policy Advice: The Australian Experience.” Public Administration 76 (Autumn): 579–589. Wellstead, A., R. Stedman, and E. Lindquist. 2007. “Beyond the National Capital Region: Federal Regional Policy Capacity.” In Report Prepared for the Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada. Ottawa: Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada. Whiteman, D. 1985. “The Fate of Policy Analysis in Congressional Decision Making: Three Types of Use in Committees.” Western Political Quarterly 38(2): 294–311. Wildavsky, Aaron B. 1979. Speaking Truth to Power: The Art and Craft of Policy Analysis. Boston, MA: Little, Brown Book Group. Wollmann, Hellmut. 1989. “Policy Analysis in West Germany’s Federal Government: A Case of Unfinished Governmental and Administrative Modernization?” Governance 2(3): 233–66. Yanow, Dvora. 1992. “Silences in Public Policy Discourse: Organizational and Policy Myths.” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 2(4): 399–423. Young, Ken, Deborah Ashby, Annette Boaz and Leslie Grayson. 2002. “Social Science and the Evidence-Based Policy Movement.” Social Policy and Society 1(3): 215–224.

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Part I The profession of policy analysis in Canada

25

TWO

The policy analysis profession in Canada Stephen Brooks

Introduction Almost 40 years ago Peter deLeon, editor of the journal Policy Sciences, made the following observation: Throughout the government and private sectors, one hardly finds any office that does not have a staff ‘policy analyst’. Newly graduated baccalaureates engrave that title on their business cards and many senior government officials view themselves primarily as analysts…Clearly, policy analysis can be seen as a growth stock. Yet the pervasiveness of the genre leads one to question the heritage, present condition, and future of the discipline and the profession. (deLeon, 1981, p. 1) Most of what deLeon wrote in his 1981 editorial remains true today. Although the number of people whose business cards proclaim them to be policy analysts is very difficult to determine, it is conceivable that in both Canada and the United States their numbers approach those for physicians or lawyers.1 The number of policy analysts has surely grown quite significantly since deLeon described policy analysis as a “growth stock”. However, the strong hint of scepticism that creeps into his conclusion is not entirely fair. I argue that the policy analysis profession is at least as influential as deLeon and other leaders of what was known as the policy sciences movement hoped it would become, but in ways that they did not expect and that probably would have disappointed them. Even the approximate size of the policy analysis community in Canada is unknown (Howlett, 2009). In this respect, it is quite different from the medical and legal professions which have about 80,000 (CMA, 2017) and 95,000 (FLSC, 2014) members,2 respectively. Unlike these professions and such others as accountants, engineers, teachers, and nurses, there is no required certification before one can be recognized by others as a policy analyst. This, of course, has to do with the fact that the policy analysis profession is not linked to any particular discipline. Someone whose business card proclaims him or her to be a policy analyst may have training in economics, criminology, public health, women’s studies, international security studies or any number of disciplinary backgrounds, some of which are by their very nature multidisciplinary. The path to the profession is much less clearly 27

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demarcated than is true of almost any other profession. Nevertheless, and despite the absence of a licensing or certification process or of standard and expected educational credentials, policy analysis has many of the defining characteristics that we have come to associate with a profession. These characteristics were described by Talcott Parsons, often thought of as the father of the modern study of the professions and their relationship to society and modernization, in his seminal 1939 article, “The Professions and Social Structure”. They include affective neutrality (the ability to be emotionally disengaged from a case or task, not bringing one’s personal feelings to bear); universalism (treating cases or clients the same, regardless of their particular attributes or backgrounds); collectivity orientation (this may be understood as the opposite of self-interestedness or, to put it differently, being motivated to serve the wider good); functional specificity (the professional focuses on those aspects of the case or client that are specifically related to his or her realm of technical expertise); and achievement orientation (the professional judges actions and colleagues according to notions of merit that are linked to achievement rather than ascriptive features of a person). Although professions existed in traditional societies, Parsons saw the modern professions as, in Thomas Brante’s words, “the major bearers and transmitters of rational values, and also of new technological knowledge which impels the economy forward. Hence they assume key positions in the modernization of society” (Brante, 1988, p. 120). Parsons’ early work on modern professions and the wider social and economic significance of professionalization has been followed by an enormous amount of research on the professions. Much of what has been written about professionalization is less concerned with how this process may be related to societal evolution and more concerned with identifying what this process involves and whether it has a typical set of characteristics or sequence of stages. For example, Harold Wilensky (1964, pp. 143–146) argues that the following events are typical of professionalization: 1. The task is done on a full-time basis, not by amateurs or people for whom it is not their primary employment. 2. A system for training professionals exists. 3. There has been an emergence of a professional association or associations that make claims to represent those in the profession and to regulate its standards. 4. Lobbying those in political authority is undertaken in order to have the exclusive competence of the profession recognized by law and to resist competition from other groups that seek to perform the same or similar functions to those in the profession. 5. There has been the development of a formal code of ethics that emphasizes the service ideal, which Parsons and many others have argued to be one of the defining characteristics of the professional person.

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Judged against the ideal types proposed by Parsons, I argue that policy analysts satisfy most of them. As a community of professionals, however, they do not meet most of the criteria that Wilensky maintains to be hallmarks of professionalization. Policy analysts represent a loose but identifiable community of professionals whose professionalization, as this is often understood, is incomplete. In this chapter I argue that the professionalization of policy analysis is usefully viewed as a cultural phenomenon that encompasses not only the expert’s relationship to the state and to various groups in society, but also the impact of policy experts on the popular consciousness and the general discourse within which more specialized policy discourses are situated. Viewed from this wider angle, the influence of policy analysts and their specialized knowledge have never been greater, not even during the post-World War II heyday of the mandarinate on the Rideau (Granatstein, 1982). In tracing the professionalization of policy analysis, I am concerned chiefly with how analysts and their craft have become embedded in our culture and governance, in the widest sense.

Perspectives on the policy analysis profession The policy analysis profession may be viewed from three perspectives. We may label these the technical, political, and cultural perspectives. The first draws its inspiration from Max Weber’s work on modern bureaucracy and the ascendance of rationally based authority. The second perspective achieved prominence as a result of the Dreyfus Affair in France at the turn of the twentieth century, the starting point for the modern debate on the political role of intellectuals and, in particular, their relationship to the powerful. The third perspective can be traced to various sources, among whom Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu and Neil Postman are among the best known. It focuses attention on the symbolic meaning of the expert and expertise. This may be the least developed perspective but I believe that it also may be the most important. From the Weberian perspective, professionalization is a process of acquiring authority based on recognized expert credentials that may include formal training, degrees, certification, and particular types of experience. One’s status as a member of a profession depends on the possession of these credentials, and the profession’s collective authority rests on the willingness of others to acknowledge the special skills, knowledge and function of its membership. Economics is an obvious and important example of a field that underwent professionalization during the twentieth century. But social workers, criminologists, urban planners, ethicists, pollsters and a host of other groups have experienced a similar development. Professionalization in the Weberian sense is inextricably tied to the dynamic of modernization, a dynamic that is characterized by increasing levels of specialization and the displacement of traditional forms of authority by rational ones. Rational authority rests upon the cardinal importance of rules, not people. Under a rational system of domination, acts are legitimate or not depending on their correspondence to impersonal rules that exist apart from those who administer 29

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them. It is a social order under which bureaucrats and experts—elites whose judgements are, in Weber’s famous words, ‘without prejudice or passion’—occupy a dominant place. The modern state is, in the Weberian sense, a rational state. It has generated a need for experts whose special knowledge is indispensable to the activities of the state. The policy analysis profession is, from this perspective, an offshoot of the rationalization and bureaucratization of social relations, and the needs of the administrative state. It is not, however, exclusively the handmaiden of the state. Policy analysts are found in organizations throughout society. This is natural enough given that the administrative state and the administrative society are complementary aspects of the same historical process. The second perspective on the development of the policy analysis profession focuses on its relationship to power. Whose side are they on? Are they wittingly or otherwise defenders of the status quo and therefore of the powerful, or are they critics, agents of social change and a tick in the hide of the Establishment? To the extent that the policy analysis profession has developed largely within the state and in response to its needs, one would expect it to play an essentially conservative role in politics. Likewise, where powerful private interests finance the activities of policy analysts and shape the agenda of their research, this will perforce mould the profession, or at least part of it, in a politically conservative direction. The policy analysis community that exists today is diverse in its ideological tendencies and social affiliations. Nevertheless, a large part of it is directly or indirectly tied to either the state or to powerful corporate interests. This segment of the profession exists not merely to meet the needs of state agencies, corporations, and business associations for information and expert analysis, but also to legitimize the interests and actions of their employers/benefactors in ways ranging from the production and dissemination of studies to interviews with the media. Left-wing social critics long have argued that the overwhelming majority of what the policy analysis community does buttresses the status quo. John Dryzek describes this status quo reinforcing analysis, “accommodative policy analysis” (Dryzek, 2008, p.2). Such critics view professionalization as a response to the needs of the corporate elites and the capitalist state. While there is much in this view that should be taken seriously, it also understates the significance of nonmainstream elements in the policy analysis community and the impact of social institutions other than the state and corporations on the development of the profession. The third perspective on professionalization emphasizes the symbolic and cultural impacts of policy analysts’ activities. The policy expert has become a routine part of popular political discourse. Experts have moved from the shadows (where they have long been influential) into the sunlight of public debate on policy. In doing so, the ‘expert’ has become an icon in a society whose consciousness and values are powerfully affected by his activities. The rise of expert authority does not eliminate the influence of other individuals and groups whose political leverage 30

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and social status may rest on the size or attributes of the interests they represent, the position they occupy in the policymaking system, their influence on public opinion, or some other factor that is not associated with technical expertise. In the age of the expert, however, most of these social actors realize the importance of expressing their views in the style of policy experts (Poerksen, 1995). What I am calling the cultural perspective views policy analysis and analysts as having meaning in themselves. A researcher commenting on claims about linkages between exposure to second-hand smoke and cancer signifies the relevance of scientific expertise to public discourse and policymaking. The same is true of the criminologist interviewed on the evening news for her views on gun control, or the economist whose assessment of the government’s interest rate policy is in the newspaper. Indeed, it cannot have escaped any reflective person’s notice that much of the media coverage of news and public affairs involves either statements of the obvious or claims or ideas that require supporting arguments and information that is not provided. In these circumstances, expertise and the expert are, in effect, being used in magical ways. Far from promoting rational policy debate they act as incantations that cast a spell of scientific authority over the viewpoints they support. This is not intended to dismiss the relevance of expert knowledge nor diminish the enlightenment that experts can bring to bear on an issue. I merely wish to make the point that quite often the medium is indeed the message. Just as film footage or photographs of Parliament Hill, the White House, or scenes of violence in the Middle East trigger certain associations in the minds of viewers, ‘the expert’ also produces associations regardless of the content of her remarks. Words like ‘study,’ ‘institute,’ ‘findings,’ or ‘specialist,’ combined with a backdrop of books and the expert’s institutional affiliation, signify the weightiness and scientific authority of the person being interviewed. The message is that expert knowledge is an indispensable part of policy discourse. Policy analysis in Canada has undergone professionalization in all three senses in which I have used the term. In the remainder of this chapter I explore the development of the policy analysis profession, using these three perspectives as my guideposts. I argue that the influence of policy analysts and their craft rests on the analysts’ technical skills and expert knowledge in our administrative society (Perspective #1), their relationship to influential interests in society (Perspective #2), and their role in shaping public consciousness in the age of electronic mass media (Perspective #3). I then return to the question posed at the beginning of this chapter: is there, in any meaningful way, a policy analysis profession?

The formative period 1932–19453 Doug Owram (1986) argues that the real point of departure in the influence of technically trained experts occurred in 1932, when Prime Minister R.B. Bennett was preparing for trade negotiations that took place at the Imperial Economic Conference. Bennett solicited the advice of several professional economists, 31

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including Clifford Clark, whom he would appoint as Deputy Minister of Finance within the year. Clark was the first professionally trained economist to hold the position and built Finance into the unrivalled centre of economic policy analysis within the Canadian state. “Dr. Clark’s boys,” as the economists under his direction came to be known, were among the best and the brightest in Ottawa, and included his eventual successors R.B. Bryce and John Deutsch. What Skelton was to foreign policy, Clark was to domestic policy. The Canadian state was transformed during the 1930s and 1940s, and a key feature of this transformation involved the increasingly influential role of nonpolitical experts. The “Ottawa men,” as Jack Granatstein calls them, were both a response to the changing demands on government but also architects of its evolution (Granatstein, 1982). They established the policy analysis profession at the heart of the state, a development that most social scientists welcomed as the triumph of reason. The growing prominence of economists and other social scientists was not only state-driven. Intellectual developments in Canada had a major impact on the activities and goals of the fledgling policy analysis profession. The social activism that had been advocated by Adam Shortt and the founders of the CPSA gained renewed vigour among intellectuals as Canada slid deeper into the Depression. The League for Social Reconstruction (LSR) was the most obvious sign of this intellectual activism, attracting the energies mainly of left-leaning intellectuals such as Frank Underhill, F.R. Scott, Irene Bliss, Eugene Forsey, and Graham Spry. The League’s ideological affinity to the newly created Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) prevented it from attracting those intellectuals who did not share its predominantly class-based view of society and who were not willing to write off the traditional parties as agents of reform. Nonetheless, the idea championed by the LSR, namely that the ‘intelligent use of the expert to plan the pragmatic intervention of the state to meet social and economic needs’ (Owram, 1986, p. 177) was one shared by most intellectuals of this generation. It provided common ground for individuals as ideologically different as Underhill and Clark. Faith in technocracy was a distinguishing feature of this first generation of policy analysts. Indeed, technocracy was believed by many to be the solvent of ideological differences. Economist W.A. Mackintosh spoke for most social scientists when he said, ‘Our philosophy should always be ready to retreat before science’ (Mackintosh, 1937, p. 321). Those who went to work for the Canadian state shared a technocratic liberalism—interventionist, confident in the ability of government to manage social and economic problems, but also fundamentally supportive of capitalism and hostile to the idea of a class-based redistribution of wealth. Their credo was the 1945 White Paper on Employment and Income, which laid the basis for the Keynesian welfare state in Canada. Some of those who remained outside the state, and whose intellectual links were with the LSR and/or the CCF, were technocratic socialists—in favour of large-scale economic planning and social entitlements—and mistrustful of capitalism and capitalists. Their philosophy and aspirations were embodied in the 1933 Regina Manifesto, 32

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which set forth the principles and policies of the CCF, and in the LSR’s Social Planning for Canada (1935). The economic crisis of the 1930s gave rise in Canada to what Neil Bradford characterizes as two quite different groups of policy-oriented intellectuals (Bradford, 1998). The “socialist partisans,” as he calls them, included historians, economists, and other social scientists—the disciplinary lines between the social sciences were much less rigid than they would become—who developed a critical analysis of capitalist democracy and proposed sweeping and concrete changes to both the economic and political systems. Frank Underhill, F.R. Scott and other intellectuals who came together through the League for Social Reconstruction were at the forefront of this group. The second group of policy intellectuals that Bradford identifies are those he calls the “liberal technocrats.” This group included academics such as W.A. Mackintosh, B.S. Kierstead, and the economists and other social scientists who worked for the Royal Commission on Dominion–Provincial Relations (1937– 1940). Referred to disparagingly by Frank Underhill as the “garage mechanics of capitalism,” these university-trained intellectuals, the most prominent of whom were economists, would become the prototype of the policy analyst in Canada. “The liberal technocrats,” writes Bradford, “offered their expertise to the state in the expectation that such policy knowledge would increase economic efficiency and stabilize the incomes of individuals…The bureaucracy and (royal commissions) were focal points for liberal technocratic engagement” (Bradford, 1998, p. 32). The Department of Finance, the Department of Labour, the Dominion Bureau of Statistics, and the Bank of Canada became major points of contact between the state and academe, through the recruitment of liberal technocrats from the universities but also through the importation of the applied policy analysis model into the policymaking process. A state-managed capitalist economy along the lines that John Maynard Keynes and his intellectual followers proposed, and which was officially adopted by the Government of Canada in the 1945 White Paper on Employment and Income, requires a sophisticated apparatus to collect information and monitor trends in economic activity, and ultimately, experts to interpret this data and make policy recommendations. The state’s need for the analysts who are indispensable to the Keynesian welfare state that emerged after World War II influenced the nature of academic economics. As Harry Johnson observes: the presence of a large-scale government demand for the product (of university economics departments) cannot help but bias the tone or ethos of the subject toward conservatism…The presence of an assured market for economists in government service, in contrast to the position confronting students in the other social sciences…accounts for the universally contrasting behaviour of students and faculties in economics and the other social sciences during the ‘student troubles’ of the 1960’s. (1974, p. 102) 33

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Johnson’s observations on the greater conservatism of academic economics, due, he argues, to its integration into the structures and policymaking processes of the state, point to a rift in academic policy analysis that goes back to the ‘socialist partisan’ v. ‘liberal technocrat’ dichotomy identified by Bradford, and which widened during the 1960s and persists today. This rift continues to pit critical analysts, those whose analysis of policy and recommendations for change are generated from an intellectual perspective that fundamentally rejects major features of the economic, social, cultural, or political status quo, against technocratic analysts. The difference between these groups is less one of analytical methods than of ideology and their respective self-images in relationship to power and society. In summary, the formative era in the development of the policy analysis profession was characterized by a changing conception of the state and a growing belief in the utility of the analyst’s craft for policymaking. The positive state required technical expertise, particularly in areas of economic management but increasingly in areas of social and, eventually, cultural policy. To a large degree, therefore, the early professionalization of policy analysis was externally driven. But it was also influenced by internal factors, notably the reformist impulses of many social scientists and the Keynesian philosophy of state management of the economy that rapidly became the orthodox view among economists. Neither those who went to work for the state nor those who sniped at it from the LSR, CCF and the pages of the Canadian Forum believed that the sidelines were the appropriate place for a social scientist. At the same time, it must be acknowledged that the dominant self-image that emerged in the policy analysis profession during this early period was very much in the ‘speaking truth to power’ mould. Even among the CCF and LSR types, the goal was to eventually control the levers of state power and therefore move their expertise from the margins into the structures of governance. In other words, their conception of the analyst’s role was not so different from that of those experts who had already been recruited by the state, although their politics were.

Consolidating its influence, 1945–1968 The pattern that was set by the end of World War II continued afterward. The machinery of government had become dependent on the technical knowledge of formally trained experts, particularly within key agencies like the Department of Finance, the Bank of Canada, and the Department of External Affairs. But in other parts of the state and in non-economic policy domains, the growing importance of technically trained experts was also evident. Porter’s observation that “the upper levels [of the federal bureaucracy] constitute what is probably the most highly trained group of people to be found anywhere in Canada” (Porter, 1965, p. 433), was doubtlessly correct. He found that in 1953, just under 80 per cent of senior officials were university graduates, and close to 90 per cent of deputy ministers. Lest it be thought that their degrees were mainly in law or some traditional area of the humanities, Porter notes that about one-quarter 34

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were in science or engineering and about an equal share in the social sciences (Porter, 1965, pp. 433–434). The precedent of expert research for royal commissions, established by the Royal Commission on Dominion–Provincial Relations (1937–1940), continued during the post-war era. The Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences (1949–1951) commissioned 51 special studies. The Royal Commission on Canada’s Economic Prospects (1955–1956) was supported by 33 studies. The Royal Commission on Health Services (1961–1965) commissioned 20 studies. The Royal Commissions on Banking and Finance (1964) and Taxation (1962–1966) produced 12 and 26 special studies respectively. Eclipsing all of these previous royal commissions, the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism (B&B) (1963–1969) commissioned 124 special studies and employed the services of many of the country’s most respected historians, political scientists, and sociologists. The status of the policy analyst had never been greater. At the pinnacle of the profession were the Ottawa “mandarins,” as they came to be called. These were the key deputy ministers and certain other top-level bureaucrats, including the Governor of the Bank of Canada, whose influence on policy was profound during the roughly two decades following World War II. Under 22 unbroken years of Liberal government there arose doubts about the political impartiality of these experts at the top. But as Reg Whitaker observes, the question of whether the bureaucrats had become Liberals might well be turned around to ask whether the Liberals had become bureaucrats (1977, p. 167). There certainly was a shared faith in the positive role for government that the Keynesian welfare state required. The end of Liberal rule in 1957 may have signalled the beginning of the end for the Ottawa mandarinate, as J.L. Granatstein argues. But its decline was not accompanied by a diminished role for expert policy analysis within the state. Despite John Diefenbaker’s prairie populism rhetoric, no significant restructuring of the machinery of governance took place during his tenure as prime minister. The size of the bureaucracy continued to grow under the Conservatives, although less rapidly than in the early 1950s. More importantly, the idea of policymaking as an enterprise requiring the knowledge and participation of specially trained experts was not seriously challenged. Despite the frostier relationship between the civil service and the Conservatives, and the palpable relief of many top bureaucrats when the Liberals were returned to power in 1963, the administrative state whose roots were put down in the 1930s continued to grow in size and in legitimacy. Although the policy analysis profession was firmly entrenched in the post-war Keynesian welfare state, its status and influence in society were considerably less secure. Very few interest groups employed people whose job could be described as that of policy analyst and whose training was in the social sciences. Likewise, the mass media rarely called upon social scientists for their analysis of contemporary events. Few journalists had any specialized training in economics, sociology, international affairs, and so on, and the academic community that might have contributed this expertise was, with few exceptions, largely disengaged from 35

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day-to-day politics. The university community was still relatively small during the two decades following World War II and the private sector think tanks that today are important contributors to policy discourse—the C.D. Howe Institute, the Fraser Institute, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Conference Board of Canada,4 and the Institute for Research on Public Policy, to mention a handful—did not yet exist. In these respects, Canada’s policy analysis profession lagged far behind its counterpart in the United States. There, the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations were already major private sources of funding for social scientific research; the prototypes of the policy think tanks, beginning with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Brookings Institution, emerged in the early twentieth century. The explosion in the demand for university education began earlier in the United States, producing both an enormous increase in the number of social science professors and a sharp rise in the share of the population exposed to their ideas. Magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and The New Yorker, as well as America’s newspaper of record, The New York Times, regularly featured articles by social scientific experts. Another important development contributing to the consolidation of the policy analysis profession in the United States was the growth of attitudinal surveys and their rapid acceptance by the mass media, public officials, and the general population, as scientific. In Canada, the turning point in the consolidation of the policy analysis profession occurred in the mid-1960s. No single development was responsible, rather a combination of factors elevated the social profile of the analyst’s craft. One of these was that old Canadian favourite, the royal commission. The Royal Commission on B&B (1963–1969) was assigned the largest research budget and the most ambitious research agenda of any royal commission before or, at least in regard to its scope, since that time. Its 124 special studies sucked into the Commission’s vortex the energies of most of the country’s most prominent social scientists. The impact of their work on the Commission’s recommendations and on policy provides an instructive lesson in the functions of a mature policy analysis profession. One of those functions—according to Ira Horowitz the key function—of the policy analysis profession is to provide a ‘political formula’ that justifies the preferences of the powerful (Horowitz, 1970). Whereas the legitimizing rhetoric of previous eras drew upon religion, political ideology and philosophy, that of post-industrial society borrows heavily from the social sciences. No less than previous political formulas, however, the rhetoric of the social sciences is easily enlisted in the service of those who rule.Gertrude Laing, a B&B Commissioner and former head of the Canada Council, notes that “the policymakers did what people generally do, who commission research—they used the B & B report in accordance with their predetermined priorities” (Laing, 1979, p. 171). In other words, the chief, if unacknowledged, role of the legions of policy analysts who worked for the Commission was to provide a ‘political formula’ that would justify policies shaped by other forces. This does not imply that there was a consensus 36

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among the researchers. The ‘political formula’ they provided consisted of the specialized language of the social sciences and the very fact that social science research was a highly visible part of the policymaking process. Other factors contributing to the consolidation of the policy analysis profession’s stature included the rapid expansion of the university system, the growth in state funding of social science research, the media’s increasing use of social science experts, and the creation of the Economic Council of Canada in 1963 and the Science Council of Canada in 1966. The era of the Ottawa mandarin was definitely in eclipse. It was succeeded, however, by the era of the institutional expert, whose influence and perceived legitimacy rested largely on his or her affiliation to an organization with a research/analysis role. These experts were found mainly in universities, think tanks, and state agencies. At the same time the linkages between policy analysts and political parties remained tenuous, except in the case of the New Democratic Party (NDP). Nationalist academics and leftleaning social scientists were important figures in the councils of the NDP. The nationalist Committee for an Independent Canada provided another channel for social and economic criticism by policy experts. As the policy analysis profession was becoming more securely embedded in the state and society, it also was becoming more specialized. After enduring years of an increasingly uneasy relationship, political science and economics formally separated in 1967. Branches within policy-related academic disciplines became increasingly specialized during the 1960s and have continued to diverge. This specialization has been reflected in both a proliferation of technical journals and a widening gap of incomprehension between what previously were closely allied fields. Fragmentation advanced on the linguistic front as well. Influenced by the strong currents of nationalism in Quebec during the 1960s, the rift between anglophone and francophone social scientists grew ever larger. In 1964 the Société canadienne de science politique was established as the breakaway francophone, and mainly québécois, counterpart of the Canadian Political Science Association (in 1979 it would change its name to the Société québécoise de science politique). It was following the lead of the Association canadienne des sociologues, which had split from the Canadian Association of Sociologists and Anthropologists in 1961. The energies of Quebec’s francophone social scientists were increasingly channelled through a separate network of organizations, conferences and journals, the latter of which included Recherches sociographiques (1961) and Sociologie et sociétés (1961). These would be followed by Les Cahiers du socialisme (1978) and Politique (1982). The nationalization of the Quebec-centred francophone social science community was abetted by the actions of the Quebec state. It created several funding agencies and research centres during the 1960s, promoting both the natural and social sciences. By decade’s end the Quebec state was the principal source of funding for social scientific research in Quebec, a role held by the Canada Council in the rest of the country. The nationalist impetus behind the Quebec government’s support for scientific research was reflected in the considerably 37

Policy analysis in Canada

greater share of Quebec than federal money devoted to the social sciences. Whereas only about 10–15 per cent of federal money for scientific research went to the social sciences, the rest going to the natural and applied sciences, about 40 per cent of Quebec funding was earmarked for the social sciences in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Notwithstanding individual social scientists who straddled the line dividing the two linguistic communities, and occasional efforts at cooperation between organizations representing the two groups, the rupture within the profession was deep and permanent. Many francophone economists and other policy analysts continued to work for the Canadian state, but the centre of gravity for their linguistic wing of the profession had moved decisively to Quebec.5 Perhaps the most obvious indication of this rift involved the “battle of the balance sheets” between separatists and federalists. It pitted many québécois economists (led by onetime Parti Québécois (PQ) leader Jacques Parizeau), who maintained that Quebec had been bled economically by its membership in Canada, against other members of the profession whose calculations purported to show that Quebec had profited considerably and would suffer significant economic costs as a result of independence (Somers & Vaillancourt, 2014). The range in estimates and projections was quite astounding. In summary, this second era in the development of the policy analysis profession was marked by consolidation of its role within the state and an increase in the profession’s social stature in both French-speaking Quebec and in the rest of Canada. The era of the Ottawa mandarins, the first generation of policy experts within the state, was ending. They would be replaced by a new generation of policy analysts whose influence was less personal, more diffuse, and embedded in the very nature of the administrative state that the first generation had helped build. Indeed, the post-mandarin generation conformed more closely to Weber’s ideal type of the policy expert. The influence of the first generation had depended too much on the fact that they constituted a personal elite to whom circumstances had given the opportunity to exercise an exceptional influence on public affairs. By the time the Diefenbaker Conservatives came to power, the influence of policy analysis and the professionals who practised this craft was securely entrenched in the Canadian Keynesian welfare state. Outside the state, the policy analysis profession grew slowly until the 1960s. It then expanded rapidly on the coattails of growth in the university system and increased state funding for the social sciences. At the same time the profession became increasingly fragmented, both in terms of the orientation and technical language of the various policy-related disciplines and also along linguistic lines. The consolidation of the profession in French-speaking Quebec was powerfully influenced by Quebec nationalism and the dense network of ties that arose with the provincial state. In English Canada, however, this period in the maturation and consolidation of the profession took place under the aegis of federal policies and institutions. For this and other reasons the English-speaking wing of the

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profession maintained a much more Canadian outlook than its nationalist québécois counterpart. In political terms, the profession continued to play a predominantly conservative role. A policy analysis community whose growth, prospects and prestige were tied to state funding, royal commissions, and the universities was unlikely to do otherwise. Economists, the proto-typical policy analysts, continued to epitomize what it meant to be a policy analyst. Pockets of criticism existed within the profession, clustered around the NDP, the Committee for an Independent Canada and, in Quebec, the emerging separatist movement. The influence of these critics on the development of the profession and on Canadian politics was, however, fairly marginal. The B&B Commission, the royal commissions on health (Hall Commission) and taxation (Carter Commission), and the Economic Council of Canada were the defining events for this generation of policy analysts, consolidating the policymaking beachhead that had been won by the earlier generations of reform-minded experts and by Keynesian welfare state managers.

A profession pas comme les autres? The early years of Pierre Trudeau’s prime ministership appeared to usher in a new golden era for the policy analysis profession. In place of the bureaucratic mandarins whom Trudeau mistrusted, the distinguishing characteristic of this new era would be the policy analysis unit. Trudeau’s sometimes gushing enthusiasm for rationality in policymaking contributed to the proliferation of such units throughout government. His well-known rhapsody to planning at the Liberals’ 1969 Harrison Hot Springs conference was music to many a technocrat’s ear: We are aware that the many techniques of cybernetics, by transforming the control function and the manipulation of information, will transform our whole society. With this knowledge we are wide awake, alert, capable of action; no longer are we blind, inert pawns of fate. (Quoted in Doern and Aucoin, 1971, p. 65) Trudeau’s remarks were very much in the spirit of the policy sciences movement, whose roots are generally traced back to Harold Lasswell and Daniel Lerner (1951). By the late 1960s and into the 1970s there was considerable optimism that the state of knowledge and methods for predicting the behaviour of human systems had reached a point where the policy analyst could become the policy scientist. The capacity to predict—to overcome what Trudeau described as the condition of being “blind, inert pawns of fate”—was key to this transformation from policy analysis and policy analysts to policy sciences and policy scientists. For a certain period of time it appeared that the emergence of this brave new world of policy science might emerge. The journal Policy Sciences was launched in 1970, under the editorship of Edward Quade, a systems analyst with the RAND Corporation. Five years later his successor as editor and former colleague 39

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at RAND, Garry Brewer, wrote that the policy sciences were “emerging as an identifiable, respectable, even desirable professional activity,” and that the proliferation of scientifically rigorous, multidisciplinary programmes and institutes in universities, producing PhDs in policy analysis and attracting external funding, were “encouraging signs of professional development” (Brewer, 1974, p. 1). This optimism, which turned out to be rather short-lived and much less widespread than the pioneers of the policy sciences had expected, encountered some resistance in Canada. In his widely read 1976 article, “Studying Public Policy”, Simeon warned against what he called the “the technologists, whose main concern has been to develop aids to assist official decision-makers make in some sense ‘better’ decisions. In this view, exemplified by writers like Yehezkiel Dror, policymaking is essentially a technical question, a matter of developing more systematic means to canvass alternatives, assess costs and benefits, and implement choices” (Simeon, 1976, pp. 550–551). The idea that a policy sciences profession might develop never achieved a significant foothold in Canada. Even in the United States, it never really became more than a boutique corner of a larger and growing policy analysis community. If the project of a policy sciences profession turned out to be too grand, however, that of the policy analyst was, as Peter deLeon put it in 1981, a growth stock. In the United States and Canada, and indeed across the western world, the notion that good governance involves “evidence-based, knowledge-based, or evidence-informed analysis” (Atkinson, 2013, p. 11) was firmly established. In the universities, courses and programmes in public policy and policy analysis proliferated. Economists, the first policy analysts to occupy an important role within the state, were followed by social scientists whose expertise lay in other disciplines. The term “policy analyst” became increasingly familiar both within the state and, as Figure 2.1 suggests, in society more broadly. Pierre Trudeau’s philosophy of governance helped elevate the status of the policy analysis profession, but the Prime Minister’s contribution was more of a nudge toward a destination where the profession already was heading, rather than a decisive push. Other factors were also at work. One of these involved the reform of the budgetary process that began during the 1960s, including the introduction of Planning, Programming, Budgeting Systems (PPBS). PPBS and its successors required much more information and evaluation than traditional budget-making. The decision to separate the Treasury Board from the Department of Finance in 1964, and the growth in Treasury Board Secretariat personnel that followed, were signs of the analysis-oriented budgeting approach that was pioneered in the United States and imported into Canada. PPBS has come and gone, followed by various incarnations that retain its rational-analytical spirit. Perhaps its most important legacy has been a large bureaucratic apparatus whose central purposes involve preparing information in the forms required by rational budgeting systems and evaluating this information. The creation of several new bureaucratic agencies and departments was another factor that elevated the status of policy analysts and their craft. They included 40

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Figure 2.1: Number of articles in which “policy analyst” appears in The New York Times 125

Number of articles

100 75 50 25 0 1860 1870 1880 1890 1990 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 Note: The New York Times Chronicle tool for tracking language use over time is sensitive to any variations in the spelling of a search term. If policy “analysts” is used instead of policy “analyst”, a different line appears, although it is very similar to the one above, but with fewer mentions. The term “policy analysis” also is more frequently used over time, but appears less often than policy analyst. This graph was generated on 1 September, 2016. The number of mentions for 2016, the last year shown, falls off because only the first eight months of the year are counted. At the time of finalizing this chapter, the Chronicle tool was no longer functioning. Source: http://chronicle.nytlabs.com/.

the Science Council of Canada (1966), the Department of Regional Economic Expansion (1969), the Department of the Environment (1970), the Ministry of State for Urban Affairs (1971) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (1971). None of these organizations have survived the various bureaucratic reorganizations and renaming that have occurred over the last several decades, having been disbanded or absorbed into other parts of the machinery of state. But the spirit that spawned this cluster of policy-oriented agencies has persisted within departments and agencies throughout government. Although it is impossible to get a precise fix on the number of bureaucrats whose jobs involve policy analysis, there is no doubt that they have come to number in the thousands. Based on unpublished Public Service Commission data from 1975, former deputy minister of finance, R.B. Bryce, reported that there were 1,092 economists, 143 sociologists, and 256 policy analysts within the Economics, Sociology and Statistics occupational category of the federal public service (Bryce, 1981, p. 55, Table 1). This admirable precision is difficult to replicate today. The best that one can do is a deep dive into the particular departments and agencies of the federal government in an effort to identify those positions that appear to have the attributes that might reasonably be associated with the policy analyst’s role. Finance Canada is the exemplar of a department with a high policy analysis capacity. Almost all of the 28 people in its Economic Analysis and Forecasting Division can be considered policy analysts. The same is true of the 25 employees in Finance’s Fiscal Policy Division, the 19 in its Economic Studies and Policy 41

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Analysis Division, the 27 employees in its Federal–Provincial Relations Division and the 26 people in its Social Policy Division.6 But even line departments, such as Transport Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, and Health Canada have large numbers of policy analysts located largely, but not exclusively, in their strategic policy branches. The fact that the federal government does not report the number of employees who have the title ‘policy analyst’ is already frustrating enough. An even greater obstacle in the path of getting hard numbers on the size of this group is the fact that many positions have a job title other than policy analyst. ‘Programme analyst,’ ‘policy advisor,’ and ‘researcher’ are among the other job titles that may and often do involve policy analysis functions. This is what leads Mel Cappe to argue that, There are literally thousands of people who do policy work in the Government of Canada. The capacity on the production side is actually quite high…Departments like Finance, PCO and especially Employment and Social Development Canada and Industry Canada still have significant policy shops, with highly trained, sophisticated and very clever analysts with graduate degrees from top flight universities from around the world. (2015, p. 23) Analysis, in its various guises, is very much embedded in the structures of the state and in the processes of governance. Its ubiquity should not be confused, however, with influence. Many who have carefully studied policy analysis units and policy analysts agree that their impact is often small and their numbers far out of proportion to their real influence. Nevertheless, along with royal commissions, task forces, and other special studies that review policy and make recommendations, expert analysis performed within government is assumed to be a necessary part of the policymaking process even if, in the priceless words of one analyst, it involves ‘turning cranks not connected to anything’ (Savoie, 1990, pp. 213–216). Outside the state, the growth of the policy analysis profession has been even greater. The publications and conferences of think tanks including the Fraser Institute, the C.D. Howe Institute, the Conference Board of Canada, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and the Institute for Research on Public Policy contribute to the contours of elite discourse on policy issues. NGOs and associations representing business, labour, and professional interests also draw on the services of social scientists in producing studies, submissions to government bodies, and information intended for the public. Large interest groups and professional lobbying firms provide employment opportunities for policy analysts. The mass media have specialized journalists for such subjects as science and technology, the environment, economics, indigenous affairs, defence, healthcare, and education. Some of these journalists, through their impact on the policy agenda and on the terms of debate surrounding particular issues, and

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in combination with other actors and forces, occasionally are able to have a significant influence on policy. To summarize, the policy analysis community is much less exclusive than once was the case. Before World War II it was entirely reasonable to speak of fewer than 100 people belonging to the fledging profession—mainly public servants and university professors, but including some journalists and individuals from the private sector (Owram, 1986). Today it numbers in the thousands. The highly elitist and personal character of the profession has disappeared, replaced by a more institutionalized quality that would not have surprised Max Weber. Indeed, the transition from an elite whose influence was based largely on personal attributes and group characteristics to a profession whose role and influence depend mainly on characteristics of the state and society is precisely what one would expect to happen as a result of the processes of modernization. Which brings us back to the question posed at the beginning of this chapter: Do these thousands of policy analysts in the federal government, whose numbers are increased greatly if we add those working for provincial and municipal governments, think tanks, NGOs, business and labour associations, and those who are based in academe, constitute a profession in any meaningful way? Judged against Talcott Parsons’ five attributes of professionalism, which may be summed up as involving a rational-scientific disposition, I think one would be hard pressed to argue that policy analysts tend to be more deficient in these qualities than, say, lawyers. Parsons’ ideal types are, of course, just that. They are conceptual measuring rods to which actual cases may conform to a greater or lesser degree. The point is what is expected of a policy analyst. At a minimum, we expect a person in this role to take relevant evidence seriously, to approach it in an objective frame of mind, to have been trained so as to be able to assess the validity and reliability of data, and to develop analyses and recommendations in a manner that does not depend on who he or she works for. In the real world, of course, we do not expect that the policy analyst will be any more likely than the lawyer, judge or physician to escape the gravitational tug of his or her own world view or background. Policy analysts, however, conform very imperfectly to Wilensky’s notion of what a mature and genuine profession should look like. Although most of those whom we would consider to be policy analysts are not amateurs and have received some form of specialized training, they fail to meet some of the other benchmarks that Wilensky argues are characteristic of professionalized corps of experts. There is, for example, no umbrella association that licenses or in some other way authorizes people to describe themselves as policy analysts and to practice this profession. Nor has there been much if any lobbying by policy analysts to persuade governments to give them this sort of licensing authority. Finally, and related to the previous two points, the profession is without a formal and enforceable code of ethics, an aspect of the policy analysis profession that has generated controversy in some circles (Benviniste, 1984; Nelson, 2014). Some of those who have the role of policy analyst may be members of professional associations that do in fact have 43

Policy analysis in Canada

codes of ethics. But there is no overarching code of ethics for policy analysts any more than there is an umbrella organization that represents them. Rather than concluding that policy analysts do not, therefore, constitute a profession, I think it would make more sense to conclude that theirs is a profession that is in some ways pas comme les autres. That they do not conform to some of the usual canons of professionalization is inevitable, given the fact that those who perform functions associated with policy analysis do not have standardized training or professional certification, something that will not change in the future. The professional identity and cohesion of the policy analysis community will always be weakened by the fact that some policy analysts are trained economists, others are criminologists, yet others are trained in public health issues, and so on. Nevertheless, the fact that they all perform a recognizably similar function in relationship to policy, bringing their specialized training and expert knowledge to bear in the analysis of policy issues and the development of policy advice, warrants considering them as members of a common profession.

Conclusion Today, policy analysis is a firmly established part of the process by which public issues are framed and debated and according to which policies are judged. But despite its pervasiveness it has failed to live up to the lofty expectations of those who pioneered policy analysis, for whom applied social research held the promise of eradicating the major problems facing mankind and of substituting scientific consensus for political squabbling. This should not surprise us. Such expectations were always based on the idea that the politics could be taken out of policymaking and that our ability to explain, predict and regulate human systems could approach that achieved in the natural sciences. Analysis may be ideologically biased, methodologically flawed, or simply ignored when its conclusions are found to be inconvenient or contrary to the preferences of policymakers. But even with its limitations, few among us would prefer that policy issues be discussed and resolved without the involvement of experts, the commissioning of studies, the contributions of think tanks, and the steady diet of information, ideas, and recommendations which they generate. The proliferation of policy experts and of sites within and outside the state, from which their contributions to the framing and making of policy are made, has been accompanied by a decline in the dominance of the rational-hierarchical policy analysis style. While ‘speaking truth to power’ is a characterization that many policy analysts, particularly within the state, would continue to embrace, ‘upsetting the apple cart,’ ‘struggling for social justice,’ and ‘providing value to my client’ are alternative self-images that many would find a better fit. The ways in which policy analysts/advisors in the state think of their roles and do their jobs have changed significantly. But in the broader analysis profession, change is no less apparent. The client advice, participative and argumentative policy analysis styles have all become more prominent during the last few decades.7 Those who 44

The policy analysis profession in Canada

provide analysis to a client for a price and those whose policy analysis activities— choice of issues, methodology, and interpretive framework—are guided by social justice, human rights, or environmental concerns share one important trait: neither conforms to the traditional ‘speaking truth to power’ model. Indeed, to a generation trained to believe that policy agendas and the conversations and conceptualizations associated with issues are inevitably ‘constructed,’ and that one of the important functions of analysis is to deconstruct the accepted narratives of the powerful, the slogan “speaking truth to power” probably sounds hopelessly quaint (and surely ideological!). At the same time, however, in an era of “fake news” and where the ability to ascertain the facts is perhaps more difficult than ever, speaking truth to power and about power have never been more important. Notes 1

2 3

4

5

6 7

Despite the fact that there is no hard data on the number of policy analysts in Canada, it is clear that the size of the profession is quite large. Former Clerk of the Privy Council, Mel Cappe, makes the following observation: “In the Government Electronic Directory System among the departments beginning with the letter A (essentially, Aboriginal Affairs, Agriculture and ACOA) there are 554 people with the word ‘policy’ in their title. There are literally thousands of people who do policy work in the Government of Canada” (www.policymagazine.ca/pdf/14/ PolicyMagazineJulyAugust-2015-Cappe.pdf, p. 23). Granted that some of these people have such titles as “policy researcher” or “policy advisor” rather than “policy analyst,” the fact is that the differentiation in the roles of those with these different job titles may not be very great. Even if we were to assume that only half of those who have the word “policy” in their job titles perform functions that involve analysis, this would still add up to an impressive number of people across the alphabet of federal government agencies who might reasonably be considered part of the policy analysis community. If we were to perform the same analysis of provincial and municipal government directories we would quickly arrive at a number that surely would be in the tens of thousands. On top of this are the thousands of policy analysts working for labour and industry associations, environmental groups, social justice organizations of various sorts, think tanks and other organizations that are not part of the state system. When all of these policy analysts, inside and outside the state are added together, it is not fanciful to suggest that the sum may well approach the number of practising lawyers in Canada. Alas, however, we do not have hard numbers. This figure includes practising lawyers only (FLSC, 2014). Some green shoots that would contribute to the policy analysis profession in Canada were already evident a few decades earlier. A discussion of these developments may be found in Brooks, 1996. The Conference Board of Canada was in fact established in 1954. It was, however, simply a branch of its American National Industrial Conference Board and did not carry out policy analyses. Don Drummond, a former associate deputy minister of Finance, writes that after the Parti Québécois was elected, “It seemed that every time I had a strong francophone economist, Quebec lured the person away after I had invested a few years in training” (2011, 348). Government Electronic Directory Services: http://sage-geds.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/en/ GEDS/?pgid=014&dn=OU%3DFIN-FIN%2CO%3DGC%2CC%3DCA. These terms allude to three of the six ‘styles’ included in a typology originally proposed by Mayer et al. (2004, p. 179); the other three are the ‘rational’, ‘process’, and ‘interactive’ styles.

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References Atkinson, Michael. 2013. “Policy, Politics and Political Science.” Presidential address to the CPSA: www.schoolofpublicpolicy.sk.ca/documents/ other/2013.06.19_CPSA%20Presidenial%20Address.pdf. Benviniste, Guy. 1984. “On a Code of Ethics for Policy Experts.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 3(4): 561–572. Bradford, Neil. 1998. Commissioning Ideas. Toronto: Oxford University Press. Brante, Thomas. 1988. “Sociological Approaches to the Professions.” Acta Sociologica 31(2): 119–142. Brooks, Stephen. 1996. “Policy Analysis as a Profession in Canada.” In Laurent Dobuzinskis (ed.) Policy Studies in Canada: The State of the Art, 1st edn. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 69–90. Bryce, R.B. 1981. “Public Servants as Economic Advisors.” In David C. Smith (ed.) Economic Policy Advising in Canada. Montreal: C.D. Howe Institute, 51–68. Cappe, Mel. 2015. “Supply and Demand for Ideas and Evidence in Public Policy.” Policy Magazine, www.policymagazine.ca/pdf/14/PolicyMagazineJulyAugust2015-Cappe.pdf, 22–24. CMA (Canadian Medical Association). 2017. Number of Physicians by Province/ Territory and Specialty, Canada, 2017, www.cma.ca/Assets/assets-library/ document/en/advocacy/01-physicians-by-specialty-province-e.pdf. deLeon, Peter. 1981. “Policy Sciences: The Discipline and Profession.” Policy Sciences 13, 1–7. Doern, G. Bruce, and Peter Aucoin (eds.). 1971. The Structures of Policymaking in Canada. Toronto: Macmillan. Drummond, Donald. 2011. “Personal Reflections on the State of Public Policy Analysis in Canada.” In Fred Gorbet, and Andrew Sharpe (eds.) New Directions for Intelligent Government in Canada. Ottawa: Centre for the Study of Living Standards, 337–352. Dryzek, John. 2008. “Policy Analysis as Critique.” In Robert E. Goodin, Michael Moran, and Martin Rein (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Public Policy, Online publication date September 2009, doi: 10.1093/ oxfordhb/9780199548453.003.0009, 1–17. FLSC (Federation of Law Societies of Canada). 2014. Membership 2014 Statistical Report, http://docs.flsc.ca/2014-Statistics.pdf. Granatstein, J.L. 1982. The Ottawa Men: The Civil Service Mandarins, 1935–1957. Toronto: Oxford University Press. Horowitz, Ira. 1970. “Social Science Mandarins: Policymaking as a Political Formula.” Policy Sciences 1(3): 339–360. Howlett, Michael. 2009. “A Profile of BC Provincial Policy Analysts.” Canadian Political Science Review 3(3): 50–68. Johnson, Harry. 1974. “The Current and Prospective State of Economics in Canada.” In T.N. Guinsburg, and G.L. Reuber (eds.) Perspectives on the Social Sciences in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 85–123.

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Laing, Gertrude. 1979. “The Contributions of Social Scientists to Policy Making – The B&B Experience.” In A.W. Rasporich (ed.) The Social Sciences and Public Policy in Canada. Calgary: University of Calgary. Lasswell, Harold D., and Daniel Lerner (eds.). 1951. The Policy Sciences: Recent Developments in Scope and Method. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. League for Social Reconstruction. 1935. Social Planning for Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Mackintosh. W.A. 1937. “An Economist Looks at Economics.” Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science 3(3): 311–321. Mayer, I.S, Van Daalen, and P.W.G. Bots. 2004. “Perspectives on Policy Analyses: A Framework for Understanding and Design.” Journal of Technology, Policy and Management 4(2): 169–191. Nelson, Robert. 2014. “Confessions of a Policy Analyst.” In George DeMartino, and Deirdre McCloskey (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Professional Economic Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Owram, Doug. 1986. The Government Generation: Canadian Intellectuals and the State, 1900–1945. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Parsons, Talcott. 1939. “The Professions and Social Structure.” Social Forces 17(4): 457–467. Poerksen, Uwe. 1995. Plastic Words: The Tyranny of a Modular Language. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania University Press. Porter, John. 1965. The Vertical Mosaic. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Savoie, Donald. 1990. The Politics of Public Spending in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Simeon, Richard. 1976. “Studying Public Policy.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 9(4): 548–580. Somers, Kim, and François Vaillancourt. 2014. “Some Economic Dimensions of the Sovereignty Debate in Quebec: Debt, GDP, and Migration.” Oxford Review of Economic Policy 30(2): 237–256. Whitaker, Reginald. 1977. The Government Party: Organizing and Financing the Liberal Party of Canada, 1930-1958. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Wilensky, Harold. 1964. “The Professionalization of Everyone?” American Journal of Sociology 70(2): 137–158.

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THREE

The “lumpiness” thesis revisited: the venues of policy work and the distribution of analytical techniques in Canada Michael Howlett, Seck Tan, Adam Wellstead, Andrea Migone, and Bryan Evans

Introduction: analytical techniques and policy analysis At its heart, policy analysis is what Gill and Saunders (1992, pp. 6–7) characterized as “a method for structuring information and providing opportunities for the development of alternative choices for the policymaker.” This involves providing information or advice to policy makers concerning the relative advantages and disadvantages of different policy choices (Mushkin, 1977; Wildavsky, 1979). Professional policy analysts employ many different types of tools in this work (Mayer et al., 2004; Colebatch et al., 2011). These tools are generally designed to help evaluate current or past practices and aid decision-making by clarifying or eliminating many possible alternative courses of action. In this sense, these policy tools play a significant role in policy formulation activity and potentially play a significant role in determining the content of policy outputs and thus policy outcomes (Sidney, 2007). As such they are a worthy subject of investigation in their own right. Unfortunately, however, generally speaking little is known about many of the practices involved in policy work (Colebatch, 2005; Colebatch, 2006; Colebatch & Radin, 2006; Noordegraaf, 2011) nor about the tasks and activities involved in policy formulation (DeLeon, 1992; Linder & Peters, 1990). That is, although many works have made recommendations and suggestions for how formulation should be conducted (Vining & Weimer, 2010; Dunn, 2004), very few works have studied how it is actually practised on the ground, and data is limited on virtually every aspect of the policy appraisal activities in which governments engage (Page, 2010; Page & Jenkins, 2005). Some progress has been made on this front in recent years. Nilsson, Jordan, Turnpenny and their colleagues have made considerable progress in, for example, mapping many of the activities involved in both ex post and ex ante policy evaluation (Nilsson et al., 2008; Hertin et al., 2009; Turnpenny et al., 2009). This has been joined by work done in Australia and elsewhere on regulatory impact assessments and other similar tools and techniques used in formulation activities (Carroll & Kellow, 2011; Rissi & Sager, 2013).

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In addition, more evidence has slowly been gathered in these countries and elsewhere on the nature of policy work and the different types practised in different situations by different actors (Mayer et al., 2004; Boston et al., 1996; Tiernan, 2011; Sullivan, 2011). Studies have probed the backgrounds and activities of professional policy analysts in government (Bernier & Howlett, 2011; Howlett & Newman, 2010; Howlett & Wellstead, 2011; Howlett & Joshi-Koop, 2011), those working for NGOs (Evans & Wellstead, 2013), ministerial staffers (Eichbaum & Shaw, 2007; 2011; 2012; Connaughton, 2010; Fleischer, 2009), policy consultants (Saint Martin, 1998a; 1998b; 2005; Speers, 2007; Perl & White, 2002), and many other prominent members of national and sub-national level policy advisory systems (Dobuzinskis et al., 2007; Halligan, 1995; Craft & Howlett, 2012a). Howlett et al. have published a series of studies examining the activities of governmental and non-governmental policy actors in Canada. These studies have started to fill out a picture of professional policy analysts and ministerial staffers, among others, as engaging in primarily process-related tasks and activities. This is consistent with the pattern found in the UK (Page & Jenkins, 2005), Australia (Tiernan, 2011), New Zealand (Eichbaum & Shaw, 2011) and Ireland (Connaughton, 2010). However, this work to date has several limitations. First, although it has distinguished between regional and central level activities in government (Wellstead et al., 2009; Wellstead & Stedman, 2010) and has found some significant variations in analytical modes and techniques practised at these levels, it has generally not distinguished carefully between different organizations and functions of government within departments and units (for an exception to this rule see Howlett and Joshi-Koop, 2011). Second, it has generally explored differences between government-based and non-government-based analysts and analysis, without taking into account the activities of the so-called ‘invisible’ civil services (Speers, 2007)—that is, the ever-growing legion of consultants who work for governments on policy matters, in some cases supplanting or replacing internal analysis and analysts (Howlett & Migone, 2013). A more complete picture of policy formulation and the roles played by policy analysts within it is needed if the nature of contemporary policy work is to be better understood. This chapter addresses both these concerns. First, it reviews the results of existing national and sub-national surveys conducted in 2009–2010 of internal Canadian policy analysts and sets out what is known about their formulation and appraisal activities, focusing on the techniques they employ in their work. Second, it reexamines the original dataset used in these studies to tease out its findings with respect to differences in the use of analytical techniques across departments and functional units of government. Third, the chapter draws on two surveys of policy consultants and those who manage them which were completed in 2012–2013 and two surveys of NGO analysts conducted in 2010–2011 to assess what kinds of techniques are practised by the private sector and non-governmental counterparts of professional policy analysts in government.

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Combined, these three studies provide a more precise description of the frequency of use of specific kinds of tools and techniques used in government for policy formulation and their distribution between permanent government officials and external policy consultants. As the chapter shows, the frequency of use of major types of analytical techniques used in policy formulation is not the same between the two sets of external actors and also varies within government by department and agency type. Nevertheless, some general patterns in the use of policy appraisal tools in government can be discerned, with all groups employing process-related tools more frequently than ‘substantive’ content-related technical tools.

The lumpiness thesis: the distribution of policy analysts in Canada In his contribution to a 2007 collection on the state of policy analysis in Canada, Jean-Pierre Voyer, the former head of the federal government Policy Research Initiative, suggested that the distribution of analytical capacities among government agencies was ‘lumpy.’ That is, different units do not just have different supplies of analytical services—the usual subject of academic analyses—but also different demands for such services. As a result, in practice, not all units require the same capacity or capabilities in terms of policy analysis, and therefore measures of overall government capacity require nuanced application with respect to specific agencies. To date, this possible ecological fallacy in existing work on policy analysis and analytical practices and capacities in government has not been systematically investigated. It is also the case, however, that the venues of policy research extend beyond the governmental confines which Voyer (2007) discussed. That is, policy analysis and advice is not the exclusive pursuit of professional analysts in government agencies; it extends beyond them in the form of analysis conducted by, for example, consultants and a range of NGOs, including think tanks and research councils among others (Craft & Howlett, 2012b). The distribution of capacities among the NGO community is even less well understood than that found among governments—the focus of virtually all previous research—and the relationships existing between the governmental and non-governmental components of policy advisory systems are almost completely unknown. It is possible, however, that Voyer’s ‘lumpiness thesis’ within government extends to external components and overall policy advisory systems. That is, that given supply and demand conditions overall and within each organization, not only should we expect the distribution of techniques, tasks and capacities to vary across governments, but also across non-governmental analysts and between governmental and non-governmental actors.1 In the following sections, the authors present empirical evidence from the three sets of surveys undertaken by the authors over the period 2006–2013 into the activities of professional analysts in government, policy consultants, and analysts working for NGOs, along with data examining the distribution of capacities

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within government. This data allows us to examine the ‘lumpiness’ thesis in some detail for the first time, both in its original and extended forms.

Data and methods The chapter presents the results of three separate groups of surveys undertaken by the authors and their colleagues over this period. The first set of surveys focused on the activities of professional policy analysts employed by federal and provincial governments in 2006–2010. The study examined the behaviour and attitudes of core civil service policy actors in the Canadian ‘policy bureaucracy’ (Page & Jenkins, 2005), a ‘typically’ structured, Weberian, multi-level system of professional policy advice (Halligan, 1995; Waller, 1992). A Westminster-style parliamentary democracy, Canada features a very decentralized form of federalism in which ten provincial (and to a lesser extent, three territorial) governments exercise exclusive control over significant areas of governmental activity, including education, urban affairs, healthcare, natural resources and many important social welfare programmes (Howlett, 1999). Other important areas such as immigration, agriculture, criminal law and environmental policy are shared with the federal government. While the territorial governments and some provincial ones are quite small—such as Prince Edward Island, with a population of only 140,000—others, such as the Province of Ontario (population 13,000,000), are as large or larger than many national governments. Given this circumstance, data were collected from two online sets of surveys: one covering federal employees and the other covering the provincial and territorial governments. Federal data came from two surveys conducted in 2006–2007. The first was a census of 1,937 people identified by members of the Regional Federal Council (an organization of senior federal civil servants located outside Ottawa) from all provinces and territories that undertook policy related work. The second was a random sample of 725 National Capital Region-based (Ottawa-Hull) policy employees identified from the Government Electronic Directory of Services (Wellstead & Stedman, 2010; Wellstead et al., 2009). The federal response rates were 56.8 per cent (n=1,125) and 56.4 per cent (n=395) respectively, giving a total sample of 1,520 policy workers. Provincial and territorial data were collected from each sub-national jurisdiction in 13 separate surveys conducted in 2009–2010. Respondents were identified from job titles listed in publicly available sources such as online government telephone directories, organizational charts and manuals and members of commissions (Howlett, 2009; Howlett & Newman, 2010). This yielded a population of 3,856 policy based actors; 1,357 responses were received for a response rate of 35.2 per cent. The total population surveyed across the federal, provincial and territorial governments was thus 6,518 with an overall combined national response rate of 2,877 (44.15 per cent) (see Table 3.1).

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Table 3.1: Sample responses Sample frame

Sample

Respondents Response (n) rate (%)

Federal

Census members of Regional Federal Council

1,937

1,125

56.8

Federal

Random sample of National Capital Region-based policy employees

725

395

56.4

Provincial

Census of publicly listed provincial and territorial policy employees

3,856

1,357

35.2

6,518

2,877

44.1

Total Usable responses 2,730 41.9

While the survey instruments used in these studies were very similar, they were not identical and some questions relevant to this inquiry relating to techniques of analysis were not included in the federal survey. In addition, the range of ministries and units varies by province and territory, so it is difficult to arrive at an aggregate depiction of intra-governmental structure required for the analysis. As a result, the largest single provincial case, Ontario, is used as a proxy for the national professional policy analyst community. This is reasonable since Ontario has by far the largest number of respondents in the survey, so the results closely approximate the overall provincial and territorial findings, and because separate analysis of the federal and provincial cases revealed a general pattern of close similarities between analysts working in the two levels of government (Howlett & Wellstead, 2012). The second set of surveys was conducted in 2010–2011 to probe the situation with non-governmental analysts employed by think tanks and research institutes. Two survey instruments were designed: 1) a government-based 192 variable (45 questions) questionnaire designed in part from previous capacity surveys by Howlett and Wellstead (Howlett, 2009; Wellstead et al., 2009) and intended to capture the dynamics of NGO-government interactions, and 2) an NGO-based 248 variable questionnaire (38 questions). Questions in both surveys addressed the nature and frequency of the tasks, the extent and frequency of analysts’ interactions with other policy actors, and their attitudes towards and views of various aspects of policy making processes, as well as questions addressing their educational, previous work, and on-the-job training experiences. Both also contained standard questions relating to age, gender, and socioeconomic status. The survey instrument was delivered to 2,458 provincial policy analysts and 1,995 analysts working in the NGO sector in the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. Four policy communities were selected for this survey: environment, health, immigration, and labour. The specific provinces and policy sectors dealt with in this study were chosen because they represent heterogeneous cases in terms of politics, history and economic and demographic scale. Ontario is Canada’s largest province in economic and population terms (13.5 million people and 40 per cent of Canadian GDP). Unlike most of Canada’s other provinces, Ontario has a competitive three party political system, and all three 53

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parties have governed since 1990. British Columbia is a mid-size province (4.4 million people and 12 per cent of national GDP). Provincial elections have been polarized contests between social democrats and a free market coalition that has been housed within various parties. Saskatchewan was chosen as a small province (1 million population and 3% of national GDP). Its economy has largely been based on natural resources and agriculture. Politics have been highly polarized, and the provincial government has alternated between social democrats and a conservative party. Mailing lists for both surveys were compiled, wherever possible, from publicly available sources such as online telephone directories, using keyword searches for terms such as ‘policy analyst’ appearing in job titles or descriptions. In some cases, additional names were added from hard-copy sources, including government organization manuals. Based on preliminary interviews with NGO organization representatives, we suspected that respondents would undertake a variety of nonpolicy related tasks. As a result, we widened the search to include those who undertook policy related analysis in their work objectives. Due to the small size of both study populations, a census rather than sample was drawn from each. The authors implemented an unsolicited survey in 2012 using Survey Monkey, an online commercial software service. A total of 1,510 returns were collected for a final response rate of 33.99 per cent. With the exception of the NGO labour respondents, the percentage of respondents corresponded closely with the population developed by the authors. The third set of surveys was conducted in 2012–2013 to assess the activities of external consultants hired by governments. Two surveys were conducted, one of government managers involved in contracting consultants and the other of consultants themselves. Both were surveyed in order to help understand how consultant policy advice is solicited, developed, transferred, and used in the context of the Canadian policy advisory system. The consultant survey was administered to companies that had performed policy work for various levels of government in Canada between the years of 2004–2012. The consultants were identified through sampling of over 10,000 contracts contained in the federal government’s Proactive Disclosure database. The survey contained 45 questions on such subjects and was administered online (using Survey Monkey) in December 2012 to 3,228 e-mail addresses for consulting firms. Three hundred and thirty-three complete responses and 87 partial ones were received for a total of 420 responses (a response rate of 13 per cent). The survey questionnaire was designed to replicate as far as possible the exact questions asked of federal, provincial and territorial permanent policy analysts by the authors in 2006–2010 in order to allow meaningful comparisons between these actors and others in the Canadian federal policy advisory system.

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The “lumpiness” thesis revisited

Findings In what follows, some of the results of the three surveys are presented. The first set of findings is derived from the federal/provincial/territorial survey and deals with the original lumpiness hypothesis. The second set of results address the extended thesis. The distribution of capacities within government: venues and tools The use of sophisticated policy analytical tools and techniques in government requires several pre-conditions to be met. On the supply side, agencies undertaking such analyses require (a) access to high quality quantifiable data or information (Vining & Boardman, 2007) and (b) the human resource and managerial capability to both demand and supply such analysis (Howlett, 2009). But not all agencies have or meet these criteria or do so at all times and in all circumstances. The question of exactly which kinds of agencies typically exhibit strengths in this area is uncertain and under-explored. On the demand side, not all departments have the need for the same kinds of types of data. Departments can therefore be expected to exhibit a different pattern in the use of specific analytical techniques. Thus, for example, some agencies such as Finance or the Treasury Board typically deal with relatively easily quantifiable issues (budgets, revenues and expenditures), usually with plentiful historical and contemporary data assumed to be very accurate and precise. They are well resourced and able to hire staff or consultants who are interested in and can utilize this kind of evidence. They have always employed highly technical forms of analysis and are likely to continue to do so into the future. Other agencies deal with less quantifiable or contested data (for example, welfare and social services) and may not be interested or able to use it. Others fall in between—for example, many Health or Housing or Transport agencies may have high quality data but may only use it sometimes; others, like Public Works or Immigration, may not have the data even if they are willing and are potentially or actually capable of using it (Howlett and Joshi-Koop, 2011; Craft and Howlett 2012b). However, once again, until now the actual empirics of the question—what kinds of analysis are actually practised by analysts in different departments—has remained unknown. The top ten policy related analytical techniques employed by policy analysts for the five selected Departments in the Ontario survey are shown in Table 3.2. Brainstorming is the most used technique (used by 91.2% of respondents) and those analysts working on Environmental issues tend to use this technique the most (94.8%). Consultation Exercises is a distant second at 76.3 per cent, with analysts working on Education issues using this technique the most at 82.1 per cent. Risk Analysis and Checklists are ranked third and fourth, respectively, with the Health analysts (74.3%) the most frequent users of Risk Analysis and Environmental analysts (70.7%) the most frequent users of Checklists.

55

Policy analysis in Canada

Cost–Benefit Analysis and Scenario Analysis are ranked fifth and sixth in general but, as would be expected, with the Finance department as the top user for both analytical techniques (74.3% and 63.5%). The next ranked technique is Expert Judgments and Elicitation, used most by the Environment department (63.8%). The Finance department is the largest user of Financial Impact Analysis (73%) and Cost-effectiveness Analysis (58.1%). Of the ten techniques, Focus Groups used least often. Focus Groups are used least by the Finance department (27%) and most by the Education department (46.3%).

Table 3.2: Top ten policy-related analytical techniques employed by selected departments (%) Techniques (top ten)

Education

Environment Finance Health Transportation Total responses

Brainstorming

86.3

94.8

86.5

96.0

91.3

91.2

Consultation exercises

82.1

80.2

68.9

77.2

63.8

76.3

Risk analysis

66.3

65.5

67.6

74.3

59.4

66.7

Checklists

69.5

70.7

58.1

66.3

58.0

62.7

Cost–benefit analysis (CBA)

60.0

60.3

74.3

50.5

58.0

57.9

Scenario analysis

60.0

57.8

63.5

53.5

50.7

56.2

Expert judgments and elicitation

51.6

63.8

52.7

51.5

55.1

53.1

Financial impact analysis

54.7

41.4

73.0

45.5

46.4

47.2

Cost-effectiveness analysis

46.3

44.0

58.1

50.5

37.7

45.5

Focus groups

46.3

34.5

27.0

42.6

31.9

38.1

As Table 3.2 shows, there are some distinct differences across areas of activity with respect to the kinds of analytical techniques and tools used. Finance dominates every ‘technical’ type of analysis except risk analysis but scores low on ‘consultation’ activity and ‘soft’ techniques, while transportation scores lowest on most measures. Environment scores lowest on most ‘hard’ techniques and high on techniques such as expert elicitation. Education also scores low on most ‘hard’ techniques, although it is higher on financial impact analysis, and Health scores low on most techniques but high on risk analysis. While units and task areas have their own particularities and needs, some general conclusions can be made about the nature of hard/soft technique use based on the general nature of the tasks that each unit is assigned. The evidence suggests that the distribution (supply and demand) for analysis differs by agency venue—that is, it is ‘lumpy’—but the lumpiness is not random: it can be traced back to the fundamental task or mission of each agency. This is very much along the lines Voyer (2007) initially suggested.

56

The “lumpiness” thesis revisited

Tables 3.3, 3.4 and 3.5 provide additional evidence of this. Table 3.3 looks at the entire provincial and territorial dataset and finds differences in the use of techniques of evidence-based or evidence-informed policy analysis among six major activity areas with more activity in this area in health, the field in which the idea of evidence-based policy making originated. Table 3.4 looks at several aspects of the task environment faced by analysts in different units and finds significant variations across the six sectors there as well. Finally, Table 3.5 provides a self-assessment made by the analysts themselves concerning the level of policy capacity their unit enjoyed. Again, significant variations exist by area of government activity.

Table 3.3: Use of evidence-informed methods (EIM), by sector Percent of respondents who ‘often’ or ‘always’ feel... ...evidence informs decision-making

...they can access information and data relevant to their policy work

...encouraged by managers to use EIM in policy work

...required to use EIM in policy work

...provided with support and resources to use EIMs in policy work

Environment

33.0

32.6

28.0

33.0

10.2

Welfare

52.4

31.7

48.3

52.4

22.9

Health

60.0

48.2

54.0

60.0

31.7

Education

51.4

44.9

49.5

51.4

30.7

Trade

42.9

37.7

37.8

42.9

16.8

Finance

43.2

38.7

36.3

43.2

25.0

Table 3.4: Nature of issues dealt with on a weekly basis Percentage of respondents who weekly deal with issues ... …for which data is not immediately available

…that require coordination across regions

…that require …that lack coordination with a single, clear, other levels of simple solution government

…that require specialist or technical knowledge

Environment

54.1

44.0

33.7

66.7

69.0

Health

50.2

32.5

16.6

63.3

41.2

Social development

55.8

40.0

24.9

63.0

52.1

Education

45.8

22.3

17.6

47.1

37.4

Industry and trade

58.3

27.2

29.0

62.6

59.9

Finance

49.5

17.3

20.9

59.2

61.9

Total

52.6

32.5

24.1

61.6

61.9

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Policy analysis in Canada

As Table 3.5 shows, despite having very different technical practices, most analysts felt their units enjoyed relatively high levels of policy analytical capacity, with only health reporting mostly low or moderate policymaking capacity. This implies that analysts outside of the health sector were satisfied with the range of techniques their units practised, their dissimilar profiles notwithstanding.

Table 3.5: Department policy capacity, by sector Policymaking capacity rating of one‘s department or agency, by % of respondents Sector Environment Social Welfare Health Education Trade Finance Total

Low 21.4 19.2 25.3 19.3 17.5 11.5 19.8

Moderate 31.0 34.9 45.2 40.4 43.8 37.5 37.9

High 47.7 45.9 29.4 40.3 36.9 51.1 42.2

The overall distribution of capacity between governmental and non-governmental actors The tables in this section address the larger, extended, version of the Voyer lumpiness thesis that looks beyond different units of government to address differences in capacity and techniques across different venues outside of governments. Here the two key groups that are compared with professional analysts inside government are professional consultants who worked on a temporary contract basis for governments, and analysts located in some of the NGOs with whom government officials, and consultants, interact. Comparing the level of formal education between government analysts, consultants and NGO analysts (see Table 3.6), about 75 per cent of the policy consultants have a graduate or professional degree and 23 per cent have a university degree. Of the government analysts, 56 per cent have at least some graduate or professional education and fully 90 per cent attain college or university-level credentials. For those working in the NGOs, the level of formal education is equal among analysts and consultants at 51 per cent and 44 per cent respectively (Evans & Wellstead, 2013).

Table 3.6: Comparison of formal education between government analysts, consultants and NGO analysts Degrees

Government analysts

Consultants

NGO analysts

Graduate or professional

56%

75%

51%

College or university

42%

23%

44%

58

The “lumpiness” thesis revisited

This suggests that the range of qualifications found in the internal and external part of the professional analytical community differ, with consultants tending to be more qualified (based on graduate and professional accreditations) than policy analysts in government and those working for NGOs. The areas of training also differ by venue (Table 3.7). The top five degree fields for consultants are Economics (23.4%), Business Management (22.5%), Engineering (15.7%), Political Science (12.4%) and Public Administration (10.4%); these five fields account for about 85 per cent of degrees conferred (allowing for multiple degrees). In comparison, the five leading degree fields for government policy analysts were Political Science (16%), Business Management (14.2%), Economics (11.7%), Public Administration (9.9%) and Sociology (7.8%). These five fields accounted for about 60 per cent of degrees conferred (allowing for multiple degrees), while a wide range of other social science, law and humanities areas accounted the remaining 40 per cent (Howlett & Newman, 2010). The top five fields for NGO analysts are general social sciences, business management, arts and humanities, political science and public administration (Evans & Wellstead, 2013). There are similarities, as business management features highly in all three groups, but overall government analysts tend to be educated in political science and public administration, consultants in economics and NGO analysts in sociology. This suggests a certain amount of self-selection by intellectual orientation among analysts in each category. However, it also highlights that all three groups lack training in areas such as the natural sciences, engineering or law, which previously was thought to comprise a sizable component of all three groups.

Table 3.7: Comparison of degree subject areas between government analysts, consultants and NGO analysts Degree subject area (top five)

Government analysts

Consultants

NGO analysts

1

Political Science

Economics

General Social Sciences

2

Business Management

Business Management

Business Management

3

Economics

Engineering

Arts and Humanities

4

Public Administration

Political Science

Political Science

5

Sociology

Public Administration

Public Administration

More important than disciplinary background, however, for our purposes, is training in specific subjects such as policy analysis (Table 3.8). About 40 per cent of policy consultants (42.7%) and about the same number of policy analysts in government (36.7%) had taken three or more policy related courses at the postsecondary level, but only 19.5 per cent of the NGO analysts had done similar courses. Only 23.6 per cent of NGO analysts had completed specific courses in policy analysis, compared with 36.6 per cent of consultants and 39.8 per cent of government analysts. Almost 70 per cent of NGO analysts, versus 47.3 per 59

Policy analysis in Canada

cent of consultants and 58.1 per cent of government analysts, had completed no specific post-secondary courses on formal policy analysis or evaluation. And about one third of NGO analysts (34.5%) and consultants (38.6%), and even more government analysts (44.9%), had not taken any policy related courses (Evans & Wellstead, 2013).

Table 3.8: Policy-related courses taken at the post-secondary level Policy-related courses

Government analysts

Consultants

NGO analysts

Taken three or more policy related courses at the postsecondary level

36.7%

42.7%

19.5%

Completed specific post-secondary courses on formal policy analysis or evaluation

39.8%

36.6%

23.6%

Did not complete any specific post-secondary courses on formal policy analysis or evaluation

58.1%

47.3%

69.9%

Have not taken any policy related courses

44.9%

38.6%

34.5%

Another question related to the use of specific techniques of policy analysis has to do with work practices. Consultants (84%) and NGO analysts (68%) tend to work in groups of one to five; just 10 per cent of consultants and 15 per cent of NGO analysts work in groups of six to ten (Evans & Wellstead, 2013). This is in contrast to policy analysts in government, where just 30 per cent work in units of less than five employees and 65 per cent work in groups of six to ten (Table 3.9). This suggests that whatever skills consultants and NGO workers have individually, this represents the sum of the skills which will be brought to bear on a subject, while policy analysts in government, not surprisingly, are much better resourced. These variations in capacities are reflected in the kinds of roles or tasks taken on by different group members. Policy consultants and government analysts share similar types of roles, but not with the same frequency.2

Table 3.9: Comparison of working group size between government analysts, consultants and NGO analysts Working group size

Government analysts

Consultants

NGO analysts

Groups of 1–5

30%

84%

68%

Groups of 6–10

65%

10%

15%

Policy consultants, for example, take on the roles of advisor (61.6%), analyst (57.5%), and researcher (50%) in their respective consultancies, while government analysts play a larger role as advisors (79.6%) and analysts (73.5%), less often taking on the role of researcher (40.6%) (see Table 3.10). The top three policy related tasks that policy consultants undertake include research and analysis (83.1%), providing advice (77%), and providing options 60

The “lumpiness” thesis revisited

Table 3.10: Roles taken by government analysts and consultants Type of roles taken

Government analysts

Consultants

1

Advisors (79.6%)

Advisors (61.6%)

2

Analysts (73.5%)

Analysts (57.5%)

3

Researchers (40.6%)

Researchers (50%)

on issues (60.9%). Policy consultants also have to fulfill functions of project management (47.9%), communications (40.8%), and programme delivery (35.6%). Similarly, government analysts undertake research and analysis (92.5%), provide advice (92.2%), and prepare briefing notes or position papers (90.6%). In comparison, NGO analysts consult with stakeholders (95.8%), identify policy issues (94.2%), and consult with decision-makers (90.5%) (Evans & Wellstead, 2013) (see Table 3.11).

Table 3.11: Policy-related tasks undertaken by government analysts, consultants and NGO analysts Policy-related tasks (top three)

Government analysts

Consultants

NGO analysts

1

Research and analysis (92.5%)

Research and analysis (83.1%)

Consult with stakeholders (95.8%)

2

Provide advice (92.2%)

Provide advice (77%)

Identify policy issues (94.2%)

3

Prepare briefing notes or position papers (90.6%)

Provide options on issues (60.9%)

Consult with decision makers (90.5%)

Of the policy consultants, 32.5 per cent spend their time on long-term tasks (those that are ongoing for more than a year). Similarly, 40 per cent of policy analysts report fairly frequently working on issues that are ongoing for more than a year (Howlett & Newman, 2010). When it comes to their preferred techniques, this question again was only asked of consultants and government analysts. Both policy consultants and government analysts employ the analytical techniques of brainstorming and consultation most often, but the third most employed technique is quite different among the two groups. Focus groups (57.2%) are the third most used technique among consultants, while government analysts use risk analysis (See Table 3.12). Cost– benefit analysis is used by 54.7 per cent of the policy consultants and by over 50 per cent of the policy analysts (Howlett & Newman, 2010). A fuller description of the techniques used by each group of analysts and a comparison of similarities and differences is set out in Tables 3.13 and 3.14. Both policy consultants and policy analysts have similar techniques that are not so frequently used, for example, preference scaling, free-form gaming or other policy exercises, and Markov Chain Modeling.

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Policy analysis in Canada

Table 3.12: Policy-related analytical techniques employed by government analysts and consultants Policy-related analytical techniques (top three)

Government analysts

Consultants

1

Brainstorming (90.4%)

Brainstorming (69.5%)

2

Consultation (75.4%)

Consultation exercises (66.8%)

3

Risk analysis (67.6%)

Focus groups (57.2%)

Table 3.13: Similarities in analytical techniques employed Similarities (within 7%)

Government analysts (%)

Consultants (%)

Consultation exercises

67.5

66.7

Cost–benefit analysis

53.6

55.0

Expert judgments and elicitation

47.8

53.4

Scenario analysis

50.3

47.3

Cost-effectiveness analysis

41.7

41.7

Problem-mapping

31.1

33.8

Financial impact analysis

38.3

31.8

Decision/probability trees

22.9

29.5

Environmental impact assessment

27.6

22.4

Robustness or sensitivity analysis

15.9

18.1

Preference scaling

7.0

6.4

Free-form gaming or other policy exercises

6.2

3.8

Markov chain modeling

0.8

1.8

Specific analytical technique(s) used. High use (>40%)

Medium use (>10% and 50%)

Medium use (>10% and 38

Vanier Institute of the Family

Ottawa

1965

8

>1.3

Canada West Foundation

Calgary

1971

19

2.5–3

Institute for Research on Public Policy

Montreal

1972

15

2–2.5

C.D. Howe Institute

Toronto

1973

25

3.5–4

The Fraser Institute

Vancouver

1974

55

8–9

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Ottawa

1980

40

5–6

Mackenzie Institute

Toronto

1986

2

< 250,000

Public Policy Forum

Ottawa

1986

22

3.5–4

Canadian Urban Institute

Toronto

1990

19

3–5

Institute on Governance

Ottawa

1990

22

1.5–2

International Institute for Sustainable Development

Winnipeg

1990

200

17

Caledon Institute for Social Policy

Ottawa

1992

5

0.5–1

Atlantic Institute for Market Studies

Halifax

1994

6

1–1.5

Parkland Institute

Edmonton

1996

6

>500,000

Frontier Centre for Public Policy

Winnipeg

1997

8

1

Montreal Economic Institute

Montreal

1999

13

2.25

Centre for International Governance Innovation

Waterloo

2001

80

>40

Canadian Global Affairs (formerly Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute)

Calgary/ Ottawa

2002

5

0.5–1

Canada 2020

Ottawa

2006

9

N/A

Wellesley Institute

Toronto

2006

10

1.5–2

Mowat Centre

Toronto

2009

Macdonald-Laurier Institute

Ottawa

2010

18 5

2.5 1

Source: These data have been obtained through various think tank websites and correspondence with their staff.

The second wave, 1946–1970 Several think tanks emerged in Canada in the decades following World War II, including the Toronto-based Canadian Tax Foundation (CTF), which was founded in 1946 by representatives of the national law and accounting societies to conduct and sponsor research on taxation. Eight years later, a branch office of the New York-based Conference Board was established in Montreal to serve 280

Any better ideas? Think tanks and policy analysis in Canada

its Canadian members. The Conference Board of Canada has since evolved into Canada’s largest policy institute with over 200 staff and a budget exceeding $38 million. In 1954, the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC) was formed to promote economic development in the Atlantic region. In 1958, the Private Planning Association of Canada (PPAC) was founded as a counterpart to the National Planning Association (NPA) in the United States. PPAC was created by ‘business and labour leaders to undertake research and educational activities on economic policy issues’ (Abelson, 2009, p. 30). The growth of think tanks in post-war Canada did not end there. The Vanier Institute of the Family was established in 1965 by Governor-General Georges Vanier and Madame Pauline Vanier to study ‘the demographic, economic, social and health influences on contemporary family life’ (Abelson & Lindquist, 2000, p. 30). In 1968, the Parliamentary Centre for Foreign Affairs was created to provide research support to parliamentary committees and government departments examining various foreign policy issues. By the early 1960s, the Canadian government also began to demonstrate interest in creating research institutes. Several government councils were formed during this period, including the Economic Council of Canada (1963), the Science Council of Canada (1966), the National Council of Welfare (1968) and the Law Reform Commission of Canada (1970). Despite operating at arm’s length to the government employers, tensions between the councils and various governments eventually began to surface. The system of parliamentary and responsible government was simply not conducive to allowing organs of the state, no matter how independent, to express views on public policy that were at variance with government priorities and policies. Ultimately, in 1992, the federal government took drastic measures to sever its institutional ties with the various councils. In that year’s budget, the Mulroney government disbanded close to two dozen policy institutes, many of which had been set up in this second wave, including the Economic Council of Canada, the Science Council of Canada, the Law Reform Commission and the Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security. The third wave, 1971–1989 Three distinct stages of think tank development were beginning to emerge in Canada during this period. First, by the late 1960s, the federal government came to realize the potential benefits of having a large independent research institute in Canada, similar to the Brookings Institution. In 1968, Prime Minister Trudeau commissioned Ronald Ritchie to consider the feasibility of creating such an independent interdisciplinary policy institute. The report, submitted the following year, led to the creation of the Institute for Research on Public Policy in 1972 (now based in Montreal) with endowment funding from the federal government and plans to receive additional support from the private sector and provincial governments.

281

Policy analysis in Canada

Second, four established organizations underwent significant transitions into modern think tanks during this period. The Canadian Welfare Council, established in 1920, was transformed into a social policy institute called the Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD); the small Montreal office of the New York-based Conference Board relocated to Ottawa, which contributed to its growing expertise in developing economic forecasting models for both the public and private sectors; and the C.D. Howe Research Institute was formed in 1973 following a merger of the Private Planning Association of Canada (PPAC) and the C.D. Howe Memorial Foundation to become a centre for short-term economic policy analysis. Finally, the profile of the Canadian Tax Foundation increased significantly during the early 1970s due to a national debate stimulated by the Royal Commission on Taxation (Abelson & Lindquist, 2000, p. 32). New think tanks were established during this period as well. In the area of foreign policy, two new think tanks opened their doors in 1976: the Ottawa-based North–South Institute which, for budgetary reasons, was forced to close in 2014, and the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies in Toronto, which now operates as a research group under the auspices of the Canadian International Council. The Canadian Centre for Philanthropy was formed in 1981 to advance ‘the role and interests of the charitable sector for the benefit of Canadian communities’ (Abelson & Lindquist, 2000, p. 33). Following Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s ‘north–south’ initiative, the federal government agreed to establish and fund the Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security (CIIPS) in 1984. CIIPS was neither a government council, nor as independent as the Institute for Research on Public Policy. The Mackenzie Institute, known for the work it conducts on terrorism and extremist political movements, became part of Canada’s think tank landscape in 1986 and in 1987, the Public Policy Forum was established to improve public policymaking by providing a forum for representatives from the public, private and non-profit sectors to consider a wide range of policy initiatives. Three years later, the Institute on Governance was formed to promote effective governance. Among other things, it advises the Canadian government and those of developing nations about how to better manage public services. It also serves as a broker for Canadian agencies seeking to assist governments in the developing world. Third, several institutions devoted to the advocacy of particular points of view, reflecting the most significant ‘wave’ of US think tank growth, also made their presence felt in this period. The Canada West Foundation was established in Calgary in 1971 to inject western perspectives on national policy debates. The Fraser Institute was created in 1974 to promote the virtues of free-market economics. In 1979, the Canadian Institute for Economic Policy was formed by Walter Gordon, a former liberal finance minister, to sponsor a five-year research programme revolving around the themes of economic nationalism. The following year, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) was established by supporters of social democratic principles to counter the influence of the Fraser Institute. The CCPA has worked closely with the leadership of the New 282

Any better ideas? Think tanks and policy analysis in Canada

Democratic Party and several public advocacy coalitions, including the Council of Canadians, to convey its concerns on a wide range of issues. The trend toward more advocacy-driven think tanks also appealed to the Progressive Conservative party. Following their defeat in 1980, several party members supported the creation of a think tank on economic, social and international issues, but the initiative foundered when the party’s leadership changed (Abelson & Lindquist, 2000, p. 34). The fourth wave? 1990–2015 Legacy-based think tanks represent the latest type of think tank to emerge in the United States and include among their ranks the (Jimmy) Carter Center at Emory University (1982) and the Washington-based (Richard) Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom (1994), now called the Center for the National Interest. These types of institutions have developed research programmes intended to advance the legacies of their founders. Vanity think tanks, by contrast, appear more concerned with engaging in political advocacy and are particularly interested in lending intellectual credibility to the political platforms of politicians (Baier & Bakvis, 2001). In theory, there are few barriers to creating vanity or legacy-based think tanks in Canada, and in recent years, some notable ones have emerged, including the Manning Foundation, created by former Reform party leader Preston Manning, the Broadbent Institute, founded by former NDP leader Ed Broadbent, and the MacEachen Institute for Public Policy and Governance at Dalhousie University, named in honour of the former federal liberal cabinet minister. These organizations join other vanity and legacy think tanks such as the C.D. Howe Institute—named after its founder, a former liberal cabinet minister—and the Pearson-Shoyama Institute (created in Ottawa in 1993 to examine issues related to citizenship and multiculturalism and named after former Prime Minister Lester Pearson and former federal deputy finance minister Thomas Shoyama). Other examples of think tanks that may fall into this category include the Canadian Institute for Economic Policy, formed by a former finance minister to further his ideas on economic nationalism, and the Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security, whose creation was largely inspired by Prime Minister Trudeau’s 1984 north–south initiative. A more significant trend in Canada in the past two and a half decades has been the privatization of existing government research capacity. In 1992, the Caledon Institute of Social Policy was created in Ottawa with support from the Maytree Foundation to enable Ken Battle, a former executive director of the National Council of Welfare, to develop a research agenda without the constraints of serving a government council. In 1994, the Canadian Policy Research Networks Inc. was created by Judith Maxwell, the former head of the Economic Council of Canada, to sponsor longer-term, interdisciplinary policy research programmes on social and economic policy issues and to leverage research capabilities from across Canada. In addition to these think tanks, four other institutes were created 283

Policy analysis in Canada

during this period: the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS, 1994); the Canadian Council for International Peace and Security (1995), which evolved from the Canadian Centre for Arms Control and Development and the Canadian Centre for Global Security; the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (1995); and the Canadian Centre for Foreign Policy Development (1996), housed until recently in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), and now called Global Affairs Canada, one of the many federal government department name changes instituted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he took office in the fall of 2015. The growth of think tanks did not end there. In 1997, the Winnipeg-based Frontier Centre for Public Policy was established, and in the following year, the Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy (SIPP) was born. As of 2008, SIPP has operated under the auspices of the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Regina. In 1999, the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) was founded, offering Quebec an alternative voice to the policy recommendations of Montreal’s Institute for Research on Public Policy. Although several of the organizations created in the early 1990s no longer exist, those that followed them have continued to maintain active research programmes. The proliferation of think tanks in the United States and in Canada showed few signs of slowing down as we entered the new millennium. In the United States, a handful of newcomers, including the Center for a New American Security (2007), a think tank with close ties to the Obama administration (Abelson, 2014), was making an impression. Ironically, much of the buzz happened in Canada. In 2001, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, then co-CEOs of the Waterloo-based company, Research in Motion, creators of Blackberry, provided a $30 million endowment to launch the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). In the same year, two other think tanks with considerably fewer resources at their disposal were founded: the Parkland Institute at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, and the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute (CDFAI) in Calgary. With a second office in Ottawa, the CDFAI (now named the Canadian Global Affairs Institute) boasts several distinguished scholars and former government officials on its roster of research fellows, including Jack Granatstein, David Bercuson, and Colin Robertson, a former Canadian diplomat with considerable expertise in Canada–US relations. No sooner did these think tanks begin to gain momentum than four other organizations joined the policy research community: the Wellesley Institute (2006), dedicated to addressing “urban health disparities” in southeast Toronto, ironically owes its existence to the closure of the Wellesley Central Hospital in 1998; Canada 2020, a self-described progressive think tank intent on redefining “the role of the federal government for a modern Canada”; the Mowat Centre, housed at the University of Toronto (2009); and the MacdonaldLaurier Institute (2010), led by Brian Lee Crowley, a well-known figure in the think tank community and former director of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS).

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The emergence of some of the aforementioned think tanks was influenced by telling developments in public sector think tanks. As noted earlier, with the 1992 budget cuts the federal government eliminated the Economic Council of Canada, the Science Council of Canada, the Law Reform Commission of Canada, and the Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security—leaving only the tiny National Council of Welfare untouched. The National Council of Welfare was eventually eliminated by the Harper government in 2012, along with other think tanks (Goar, 2012). The creation of the Caledon Institute and the nowdefunct Canadian Policy Research Networks, Inc. were direct reactions to these eliminations. The Mulroney government justified its decision not simply in terms of savings, but also because of the large number of think tanks that had emerged in Canada since the 1960s. Among other things, Prime Minister Mulroney and his colleagues argued that in the 1990s there was sufficient policy capacity located outside government to supplement the research needs of federal departments and agencies—a claim that was widely disputed in the media and in some academic circles. Prime Minister Harper demonstrated even less patience and concern for the welfare of think tanks, particularly those on the left that required significantly more funding from the federal government to keep afloat. As some critics of the Harper government have argued, the prime minister was willing to cultivate ties with think tanks that shared his ideology (Gutstein, 2014), but was even more willing to undermine those that did not. In reviewing these waves of think tank growth, it is important to keep in mind that each new period of think tanks has not supplanted the institutions that preceded it, but has added new patches to an already complex and colourful quilt. Moreover, older types of think tanks have continued to be created in recent years in both countries. For example, although CIGI, the Mowat Centre, and the Parkland Institute are based at universities, they share many of the guiding principles that helped distinguish the think tanks of the early twentieth century, including a commitment to rigorous research. At the same time, a more crowded marketplace of ideas has increased competition for funding and modified the practices of the older institutions, creating a greater awareness of the need to make findings accessible to and easily digested by policymakers. This lesson has not been lost on several new members of the think tank community in Canada and the United States, including those described as ‘think and do’ tanks that want to both think about policy solutions and do something about them, such as the Washington, DC-based Center for Global Development.

Think tanks at work As mentioned, think tanks in Canada differ enormously in terms of staff size, budget, research areas, ideological orientation, funding models and publication programmes. While think tanks share a common desire to shape the discourse around key policy debates, how and to what extent they become involved in the policymaking process is profoundly influenced by their mandate, resources 285

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and priorities. Although it is generally assumed that research and analysis is the hallmark of think tanks, we cannot expect all institutes to assign the highest priority to this function. This may in part explain why some think tanks in Canada have very few, if any, PhDs among their ranks. While a doctorate is the minimum requirement for admission to America’s premier research institutions, including Brookings and RAND, the majority of think tanks in Canada do not have an abundance of policy experts who have been trained to produce rigorous academic research. Even if we assume that all think tanks assign the highest priority to producing academic research, we cannot take for granted that they all have the resources to mount an extensive research programme. Unlike in the United States—where think tanks such as the Brookings Institution, the Hoover Institution and RAND can draw on multimillion-dollar budgets—in Canada there are few think tanks that are in a position to support a high-profile research programme. Limited resources place enormous constraints on what think tanks in this country can provide. Moreover, even if think tanks in Canada had a surplus of staff with advanced degrees, all organizations would not be equally committed to undertaking sophisticated research and analysis. The emphasis that think tanks place on research and analysis may be a reflection of the type of staff they have assembled, but it depends ultimately on how they see their role in the policymaking community. Advocacy-oriented think tanks have few incentives to engage in rigorous academic research. The same cannot be said for more research-driven think tanks, whose credibility rests on the quality of their studies. It is easy to document the type of research and analysis in which think tanks are involved by accessing their websites and compiling a list of ongoing projects. For example, the Caledon Institute has released several studies recently on issues affecting disabled Canadians and on challenges to the country’s employment policies, and the Pembina Institute focuses part of its resources on studying energy efficiency in buildings and transportation. The considerable range of topics being explored confirms that think tanks are trying to carve out their own niche. It also confirms that there is no identifiable trend in terms of research being conducted. Although the type of funding that think tanks receive may influence the direction of their research, in the final analysis, the organizations must set their own research agenda. For some, including the Canada West Foundation, the Mowat Centre and the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, this has meant concentrating on regional political and economic issues. Yet, for others (C.D. Howe, Fraser and IRPP), this has involved identifying emerging national issues, including reforming the constitution and overhauling the healthcare system. Some think tanks list a handful of projects while others indicate that they have over 200 on the go. Moreover, while some of the analysis undertaken at think tanks is highly technical, particularly the long-range economic forecasting models developed at the Conference Board of Canada, much of it is of a more general nature such as Canadian International Council’s ongoing work on globalization. In this volume, several authors discuss the types of analytical approaches and models that are employed by staff at various federal and provincial government 286

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agencies and departments and at a host of non-governmental organizations. What Brooks, Flynn and Marlin, Stritch and others discovered is that there is little consistency in how public policy issues are studied and analyzed (see Chapters 2, 12 and 14). The same can be said for how research and analysis is conducted at Canada’s think tanks. Some think tanks, including C.D. Howe, rely heavily on quantitative approaches to the study of policy analysis, whereas others, such as the Caledon Institute and the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies draw more heavily on qualitative methods. But few think tanks in Canada are known for embracing a particular methodological approach to the study of public policy. Indeed, as noted, the range of research products generated at think tanks is as diverse as the think tank community itself. Unfortunately, tracking the types of projects being conducted at think tanks tells us little about how many resources are devoted to each initiative and what form the final product will take. For this information, it is helpful to study think tanks’ annual reports to ascertain what percentage of their budget is allocated for research and publications, a clear indication of an institute’s priorities. Studying the types of publications that think tanks produce can also provide some insight into the nature of these organizations. In recent years, the trend has been to move away from book-length studies to shorter analyses, a recognition in part that policymakers, opinion leaders and journalists prefer brief reports to highly technical and lengthy studies on various policy issues (Laskin & Plumbtre, 2001). In this sense, many Canadian think tanks have followed the lead of their American counterparts by becoming more advocacy oriented. As the Heritage Foundation has demonstrated, brief reports to policymakers and journalists can have a much greater impact in shaping public opinion and public policy than weighty volumes that gather dust on bookshelves. The obvious advantage for think tanks is that this approach allows them to comment on important issues in a timely fashion, a quality that makes them attractive to the 24-hour news cycle. The media, as Kathleen McNutt points out in her chapter, rely on various external sources of policy expertise to produce their own policy analysis. The downside for think tanks courting the media is that by following the most trendy political issues, they have less time to focus on the long-term interests of the nation. The consequences of making an institutional shift from policy research to political advocacy cannot be ignored. In theory, policymakers in Canada turn to think tanks for advice and expertise because few bureaucratic departments and agencies have the luxury of engaging in long-term strategic analysis. They certainly do not rely on think tanks because of their financial and staff resources. After all, most Canadian think tanks have approximately a dozen staff and a budget hovering around $1 million, hardly competition for the well-healed bureaucracy. What many bureaucratic departments lack, however, is the opportunity to think about how policy issues might play out over several years. Think tanks can offer the time to reflect and to think critically about important policy matters. Yet, as think tanks have become more concerned about responding to the short-term needs of policymakers and 287

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journalists, they have sacrificed their strategic advantage. By focusing on quick response policy research, think tanks have in effect given up what they could do best—providing an independent and informed perspective on a wide range of issues. The result is that much of the analysis produced by think tanks reflects the immediate concerns of policymakers and opinion leaders and other stakeholders, not the long-term needs of the country. Having said this, elected officials and career civil servants can and do rely on think tanks for other purposes. As Abelson and Lindquist (2000, pp. 144–161) and Lindquist (1989, p. 227) discovered in their research on the involvement of think tanks in various public policy debates, policymakers can benefit by aligning themselves with think tanks because they are seen as operating at arm’s length from government. Because of their image as independent and non-profit research centres, think tanks can offer policymakers an element of credibility that they themselves might lack. In doing so, think tanks can serve the needs of government, but not in the way one might imagine. Despite the preoccupation of think tanks in providing timely information advice (often through Twitter, Facebook, or other social media), many continue to produce a variety of publications. Think tanks publish books (usually edited collections), conference papers, opinion magazines, newsletters, occasional papers and online reports. In fact, many think tanks prefer to post their publications online rather than incur the expense of printing hundreds of documents. Allowing readers to download publications also provides think tanks with an indication of which projects are in greatest demand. The sheer number of publications distributed by think tanks may tell us which organizations are the most productive, but it says little about the quality of their work and the contribution made to important policy debates. Publishing dozens of studies each year might look impressive in an annual report, but if journalists, academics and policymakers are not reading and commenting on them, think tanks cannot in good conscience claim to have had an impact. That is why scholars who study think tanks must pay close attention to how institutes involved in particular policy debates have sought to convey their ideas and whether their views have indeed found a welcome audience. As the number of think tanks in Canada has grown since the early 1970s, many journalists and political pundits have assumed that their influence is on the rise. Indeed, given the frequency with which think tank staff are quoted by media, we are often left with the impression that these organizations are largely responsible for shaping Canada’s political and economic agenda. Although it is difficult to assess how much or little influence think tanks wield, it is nonetheless possible to make informed judgements about the nature of their influence. Of all the public uses of think tank influence, none is more visible than the efforts of think tanks to secure access to the media. Since directors of think tanks often equate media exposure with policy influence, many devote considerable resources to enhancing their public profile. By ensuring that they are regularly quoted in the print and broadcast media, think tanks seek to create the impression that they play a critical role in shaping public policy. While it is important for 288

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think tanks to communicate their views to the public via television broadcasts or op-eds in Canadian newspapers, however, media exposure does not necessarily translate into policy influence. Generating media attention may enable some think tanks to share their research findings with the public and with policymakers, but it does not necessarily guarantee that their views will have a lasting impact on important policy debates.

Competing in the marketplace of ideas Testifying before a high-profile parliamentary committee or publishing a study on a controversial domestic or foreign policy issue may attract attention in some policymaking circles, but it is unlikely to generate the same amount of exposure as an appearance on the CBC or CTV evening news or an op-ed in The National Post or The Globe and Mail. This may explain why some Canadian think tanks assign a higher priority to their media profile than to their research output. It might also explain why the competition between think tanks for media exposure is so intense. As Patricia Linden (1987, p. 100) notes: [For think tanks to compete], their ideas must be communicated; otherwise the oracles of tankdom wind up talking to themselves. The upshot is an endless forest of communiques, reports, journals, newsletters, Op-Ed articles, press releases, books and educational materials. The rivalry for attention is fierce; so much so that the analysts have come out of their think tanks to express opinions on lecture and TV circuits, at seminars and conferences, and press briefings. Securing access to the media on a regular basis provides think tanks with an opportunity to help shape public opinion and public policy. At the very least, media exposure allows think tanks to plant seeds in the mind of the electorate that over time may develop into a full-scale public policy debate. In addition to contributing to the public dialogue, think tanks understand that media exposure helps foster the illusion of policy influence, a currency which they have a vested interest in accumulating. The Fraser Institute is just one of many think tanks which equates media exposure with policy influence. Although the Fraser Institute’s former chairman, Alan F. Campney, acknowledged in the Institute’s 1976 Annual Report that it ‘is almost as difficult to measure the effects of the Institute’s work as it is to ascertain what Canada’s economic problems are’ (Abelson, 2009, p. 86), Fraser has consistently relied on media coverage to assess its impact. According to its 25-year retrospective, ‘One of the indicators the Institute has used from its inception [to measure performance] is media coverage. How many mentions does an Institute book receive in daily newspapers? How many minutes of airtime do Institute authors and researchers receive during interviews?’ (Abelson, 2009, p. 86). The potential benefits of being a guest commentator on a national newscast or radio programme or publishing op-eds on a regular basis are vast. Not only does it 289

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bode well for think tank scholars looking for a broader audience to convey their ideas, but it can also help promote the goals of the institutions they represent. As the Fraser Institute, C.D. Howe and other think tanks have discovered, media coverage can and does play a critical role in allowing institutes to effectively market their research products. Thus far, we have provided an overview of the think tank community in Canada and the importance think tanks assign to marketing their ideas. In the final section, the focus shifts to some of the many difficulties scholars experience in assessing their impact. This begins to lay the groundwork for how to better understand what think tanks do and how best to evaluate their performance.

Think tanks and policy influence In some respects, think tanks are no different from the corporations and private businesses that fund them. They have a product to sell and an image to project in a marketplace that rarely rewards complacency, and we should not be surprised when think tank directors embellish their institutes’ achievements. For example, it did not take long for David Bercuson, one of Canada’s most renowned military historians and the former director of programmes at the Calgary-based Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute (CDFAI), now the Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI), to share the good news he received from the 2012 Global Go to Think Tank Index Report (McGann, 2012). Shortly after the preliminary findings of the annual index and rankings of over 6,000 think tanks had been circulated, the CDFAI issued a press release proclaiming, “CDFAI ranked one of the top think tanks in the nation” (CDFAI, 2013, Press Release). On the surface, Bercuson had cause for celebration. His institute, which had been founded in 2001 “to be a catalyst for innovative Canadian global engagement” (CDFAI, 2013), had ranked seventh on the list of the top thirty think tanks in Canada and Mexico (McGann, 2012), a considerable improvement over the thirtieth place ranking CDFAI had received a year before (McGann, 2012). Fourth overall among Canadian think tanks—after the Fraser Institute, the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), and the North–South Institute (NSI)—CDFAI had clearly made an impression on the more than 1,500 experts called upon to rank the world’s top think tanks. What must have been even more gratifying to Bercuson was the fact that CDFAI was placed higher than several larger and more established think tanks, including the C.D. Howe Institute, the Canadian International Council (formerly the Canadian Institute of International Affairs (CIIA)), and the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP). However, he made no mention of how CDFAI had fared in other categories included in the report. For example, among the “Top 70 Security and International Affairs Think Tanks” in the world, a grouping where one would expect to find CDFAI given its defined areas of expertise, the institute was noticeably absent. Ironically, it was a Russian think tank that provided the only reference to Canada. The Moscowbased Institute for the US and Canadian Studies ranked sixty-second. 290

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CDFAI was also overlooked in several other categories highlighted in the report. In what the authors of the publication referred to as “Special Achievements,” where think tanks were recognized for, among other things, the best use of the media (print and broadcast), best external relations/public engagement, most innovative policy ideas and proposals, outstanding policy-oriented research programmes, best use of the Internet or social media, and most significant impact on public policy, CDFAI did not receive a single mention. However, there was some consolation for the Canadian think tank community as the Fraser Institute, the North–South Institute, and IRPP managed to garner some attention. It is true that CDFAI placed among the top five Canadian think tanks listed in the combined category of top think tanks in Canada and Mexico. Still, it is questionable, given the ad hoc, arbitrary, and impressionistic nature of the rankings and the less than rigorous process that generates them, whether CDFAI would have secured a similar position in a category devoted exclusively to Canadian think tanks. Since many of the experts called upon to rank think tanks in this global survey possess little knowledge of think tanks in Canada, it is uncertain where CDFAI would find itself among its competitors. This problem has become particularly acute in surveys of this kind where experts are not required to undertake a detailed assessment of hundreds of institutes, but simply to provide their impressions of think tanks. With little detailed knowledge of what particular think tanks do, or the quality of work they produce, experts often base their decisions on their reputation. This may explain why the Brookings Institution and Chatham House consistently receive the highest rankings in this survey. It would also explain why the Fraser Institute, admittedly Canada’s best-known think tank, is also consistently rewarded with a favourable ranking. The Fraser Institute was far less modest in publicizing the results of the 2014 survey. In a press release issued on 22 January 2015, a day before the Global Go To Think Tank Report and Index was unveiled, Fraser Institute president Niels Veldhuis proudly proclaimed that Fraser was “first among the nearly 100 think tanks in Canada for the seventh consecutive year and 19th out of 6,618 think tanks from 182 countries worldwide” (Fraser Institute, 2015). He added, “Being recognized as one of the top 20 think tanks in the world and the only Canadian think tank in the global top 40 speaks volumes about the quality of research and programmes produced by our diverse staff and senior fellows across Canada and the United States” (Fraser Institute Press Release, 2015). If this wasn’t enough praise to heap on his institute, Veldhuis offered the following: “The University of Pennsylvania ranking is validation that the Fraser Institute continues to successfully study, measure and broadly communicate the effects of government policies and entrepreneurship on the well-being of Canadians” (Fraser Institute Press Release, 2015). It would be tempting, to indict Bercuson, Veldhuis, and other think tank directors and presidents for exaggerating their institutes’ achievements in the press and on their websites. But this is exactly what leaders of think tanks are expected to do. In what has become an increasingly competitive marketplace of ideas 291

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where think tanks must secure funds to keep afloat, directors have an obligation, and—to be blunt—an incentive to cast their organizations in the most flattering light. To dismiss or downplay the kind of public recognition that comes from widely known publications such as the annual Global Go To Think Tank Report and Index would likely not sit well with the boards of directors and funders who support the work of these institutes. In fact, to do otherwise would be foolhardy. By pointing out how cavalier directors of think tanks can be when it comes to highlighting or ignoring data that suits their organizations’ interests, it is not my intention to cast aspersions on, or to in any way discredit those entrusted with overseeing the nation’s think tanks. Rather, by demonstrating how easily rankings and other measurements of think tank influence can be manipulated, I would like to conclude by suggesting how scholars and journalists can better evaluate the contributions of think tanks to public policy.

Conclusion. Thinking ahead: think tanks and their impact A two-pronged approach It is laborious, though not difficult, to compile large data sets on the visibility of think tanks. Several search engines allow users to track the media exposure of think tanks in hundreds of domestic and foreign newspapers. Scholars can, for instance, monitor think tank citations by region, topic and date, and, depending on the time horizon they select (usually five or ten years), produce a ranking of the most widely cited think tanks. A similar approach can be employed to rank think tanks that are referenced in broadcast media and on countless websites (McNutt & Marchildon, 2009). Moreover, websites managed by the US Congress and the Canadian Parliament provide lists of testimonies provided by policy experts at think tanks. With this information in hand, scholars can begin to hypothesize why some think tanks attract more media exposure than others, and why staff from some policy institutes appear with far greater regularity before legislative committees. Still, although these and related data may help inform discussions about think tank visibility and may reflect the extent to which these institutions are engaged in particular policy debates, they are less useful in assessing policy influence. For example, while there appears to be a direct correlation between the number of times think tanks are quoted in the press and the size of their budget, scholars have been unable to detect a causal relationship between public visibility and policy relevance: that is, the most talked about and written about think tanks are not necessarily those that exercise the most policy influence. Some think tanks, such as the Caledon Institute, maintain a modest media profile while enjoying considerable access to high-level policymakers (Abelson, 2009). Other think tanks also prefer to operate with little fanfare so do not assign a high priority to building a public profile—another reason for questioning the utility or futility of media rankings. Numbers that reveal how much exposure think tanks attract thus do not provide the context scholars require to ascertain how and 292

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where in the policymaking process think tanks have the greatest impact. On the other hand, qualitative assessments based on surveys, interviews and case studies can prove to be enormously helpful in delving more deeply into the extent and nature of think tank influence. One of the many challenges scholars of think tanks face is resisting the temptation to make general observations about the organizations they study and the kind of influence they exercise. No two think tanks are exactly alike. By the same token, the circumstances under which policy institutes are able to contribute to the policy discourse on domestic and foreign policy debates differ dramatically. This explains why Leslie Gelb, former president of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations, concluded that assessing the policy influence of think tanks is notoriously difficult—it is “highly episodic, arbitrary, and difficult to predict” (Abelson, 2006, p. 167). To achieve policy influence, think tanks need to present the right ideas to the right people at the right time. But even then, their best laid plans may fall upon deaf ears. If there were a five-step programme to guarantee that think tanks could leave their mark on government policies and initiatives, they would trip over each other to sign up. In reality, there is no guaranteed formula for success. Sometimes, think tanks are able to engage policymakers and the public in ways that provide them opportunities to share their insights about policy issues. At other times, their voices are barely heard. As with other non-governmental organizations that remain vulnerable to changing political conditions, much of what happens in the environment which think tanks inhabit is beyond their control. Recognizing this, scholars have published an increasing number of case studies on the involvement of think tanks in various policy debates. Case studies of think tanks and their efforts to involve themselves in key policy discussions can help shed light on the many factors that may facilitate or frustrate think tanks’ ability to achieve their desired outcomes (Abelson, 2018; Abelson et al., 2017; McGann et al., 2014; Pautz, 2012). Although these avenues of inquiry may provide only a snapshot in time, the picture they reveal at a given moment can go a long way in providing a more systematic examination of think tanks. At the very least, a more detailed investigation of particular think tanks and their interaction with key stakeholders may compel scholars to rethink some of their earlier observations about the inner workings of these institutions. References Abelson, Donald E. 1996. American Think Tanks and their Role in US Foreign Policy. London and New York: Macmillan and St. Martin’s Press. Abelson, Donald E. 2006. A Capitol Idea: Think Tank & US Foreign Policy. Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Abelson, Donald E. 2007. “Any Ideas? Think Tanks and Policy Analysis in Canada.” In Laurent Dobuzinskis, Michael Howlett, and David Laycock (eds.) Policy Analysis in Canada: The State of the Art. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 551-573.

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Abelson, Donald E. 2009. Do Think Tanks Matter? Assessing the Impact of Public Policy Institutes, 2nd edn. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Abelson, Donald E. 2014. “Changing Minds, Changing Course: Obama, Think Tanks and American Foreign Policy.” In Inderjeet Parmar, Linda B. Miller, and Mark Ledwidge (eds.) Obama and the World: New Directions in US Foreign Policy, 2nd edn. London: Routledge, 107–19. Abelson, Donald E. 2016. Northern Lights: Exploring Canada’s Think Tank Landscape. Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Abelson, Donald E. 2018. Do Think Tanks Matter? Assessing the Impact of Public Policy Institutes, 3rd edn. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Abelson, Donald E., and Christine M. Carberry. 1998. “Following Suit or Falling Behind? A Comparative Analysis of Think Tanks in Canada and the United States.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 31(3): 525–555. Abelson, Donald E., and Evert A. Lindquist. 1998. “Who’s Thinking About International Affairs?: The Evolution and Funding of Canada’s Foreign and Defence Policy Think Tanks.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association, Ottawa, Canada. Abelson, Donald E., and Evert A. Lindquist. 2000. “Think Tanks in North America.” In R. Kent Weaver, and James G. McGann (eds.) Think Tanks and Civil Societies: Catalyst for Ideas and Action. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 37–66. Abelson, Donald E., Brooks, Stephen, and Xin Hua (eds.). 2017. Think Tanks, Foreign Policy and Geo-Politics. London: Routledge. AIMS (Atlantic Institute for Market Studies). 2004. “AIMS National and International Profile Continues to Build,” AIMS Media Release, 24 February. Halifax: AIMS. Baier, Gerald, and Herman Bakvis. 2001. “Think Tanks and Political Parties: Competitors or Collaborators?” ISUMA 2(1): 107–113. Battle, Ken. 2004. “The Role of a Think-Tank in Public Policy Development.” Policy Research Initiative 6(1): 11–15. CDFAI (Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute). 2013. Press Release, 23 January. CIC (Canadian International Council). 2009. 2008–2009 Annual Report. Toronto: CIC. Dobuzinskis, Laurent. 1996. “Trends and Fashions in the Marketplace of Ideas.” In Laurent Dobuzinskis, Michael Howlett, and David Laycock (eds.) Policy Studies in Canada: The State of the Art. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 91–124. Fraser Institute. 2015. Press Release, 22 January. Goar, Carol. 2012. “Harper Throws National Council of Welfare on the Scrap Heap.” Toronto Star, 12 April. Gutstein, Donald. 2014. Harperism: How Stephen Harper and His Think Tank Colleagues Have Transformed Canada. Toronto: James Lorimer & Company. 294

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Kingdon, John W. 1984. Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies. New York: Harper Collins. Laskin, Barbara, and Tim Plumptre. 2001. “Think Tanks and Policy Institutes: An Overview of Issues, Challenges and Successes in Canada and Other Jurisdictions.” Ottawa: Institute on Governance. Linden, Patricia. 1987. “Powerhouses of Policy: A Guide to America’s ThinkTanks.” Town and Country, January. Lindquist, Evert A. 1989. Behind the Myth of Think-Tanks: The Organization and Relevance of Canadian Policy Institutes. Doctoral dissertation, Berkeley, CA: University of California. Lindquist, Evert A. 1998. “A Quarter-Century of Think Tanks in Canada.” In Diane Stone, Andrew Denham and Mark Garnett (eds.) Think Tanks Across Nations: A Comparative Approach. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 127–144. McCoy, Heath. 2014. “Centre’s Director Dr. David Bercuson Honoured.” University of Calgary Press Release, 27 November. McGann, James G. 1995. The Competition for Dollars, Scholars and Influence in the Public Policy Research Industry. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America. McGann, James G. 2012. “2012 Global Go To Think Tanks Index Report.” TTCSP Global Go To Think Tank Index Reports. 7. http://repository.upenn. edu/think_tanks/7. McGann, James G. 2016. The Fifth Estate: Think Tanks, Public Policy, and Governance. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution. McGann, James G., and R. Kent Weaver. 2000. Think Tanks and Civil Societies: Catalysts for Ideas and Action. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. McGann, James G., Amy Viden, and Jillian Rafferty (eds.). 2014. How Think Tanks Shape Social Development Policies. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. McNutt, Kathleen, and Gregory Marchildon. 2009. “Think Tanks and the Web: Measuring Visibility and Influence.” Canadian Public Policy 35(2): 219–236. Pal, Leslie A., and R. Kent Weaver (eds.). 2003. The Government Taketh Away: The Politics of Pain in the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. Pautz, Hartwig. 2012. Think Tanks, Social Democracy and Social Policy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Ricci, David M. 1993. The Transformation of American Politics: The New Washington and the Rise of Think-Tanks. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Rich, Andrew. 2004. Think Tanks, Public Policy, and the Politics of Expertise. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Savoie, Donald J. 2003. Breaking the Bargain: Public Servants, Ministers, and Parliament. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 110–120. Smith, James A. 1991. The Idea Brokers: Think Tanks and the Rise of the New Policy Elite. New York: The Free Press.

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Stone, Diane. 1996. Capturing the Political Imagination: Think Tanks and the Policy Process. London: Frank Cass. Stone, Diane, and Andrew Denham (eds.). 2004. Think Tank Traditions: Policy Research and the Politics of Ideas. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Stone, Diane, Andrew Denham, and Mark Garnett (eds.). 1998. Think Tanks Across Nations: A Comparative Approach. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Tupper, Allan. 1993. “Think-tanks, Public Debt, and the Politics of Expertise in Canada.” Canadian Public Administration 36(4): 530–546. Weaver, R. Kent. 1989. “The Changing World of Think Tanks.” PS: Political Science and Politics 22(2): 563–578.

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Policy analytical capacity and Canadian business associations Andrew Stritch One of the more notable—and well-noted—trends in public policymaking in Canada since the early 1980s has been a shift in the nature of policy advisory systems. The broadbrush strokes of this change paint a picture in which the closed dominance of professional public servants has been eroded in favour of more open, collaborative and inclusive systems. In these systems, civil society actors are now given an opportunity to play a much more extensive role in public policy analysis and advice. We have moved from a state-centric ‘vertical’ model towards a polycentric ‘horizontal’ one (Halligan, 1995; Craft & Howlett, 2013; Evans & Sapeha, 2015; Veselý, 2013; Atkinson et al., 2013; Bakvis, 2000; Savoie, 2003; Lindquist & Desveaux, 2007; Brooks, 2007; Mintrom, 2007; Prince, 2007; Phillips, 2007). This ‘externalization’ of policy advice has several manifestations, and includes the use of external consultants, think tanks, private research institutes, partisan political advisers, polling firms, universities, business and labour organizations, and other non-governmental organizations (Howlett & Migone, 2013; Craft & Howlett, 2013; Veselý, 2013; Atkinson et al., 2013; Howlett, 2015; Savoie, 2003; Speers, 2007; Abelson, 2007). It is sometimes traced back to the heyday of new public management (NPM) in the 1980s and early 1990s when budgetary constraints and a desire for streamlining dovetailed with a neoliberal restructuring of state functions (Bakvis, 2000; Speers, 2007; Evans & Wellstead, 2013; Voyer, 2007). Today, a “new governance” philosophy still persists and is articulated even at the centre of the Canadian federal bureaucracy. The Privy Council Office’s 2016 Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada touted an initiative to make the functioning of the public service, “even more collaborative, connected and open.” In the words of the Report: “It will be important never to return to a time where policy was developed in splendid isolation from the operations and services that implement it, or the people affected by it” (PCO, 2016, p. 18). In the academic literature, the incorporation of civil society actors into the process of public policy development at a sectoral, or subsystemic, level has long been recognized, in Canada and elsewhere, by an extensive body of work dealing with “policy networks,” “policy communities,” “advocacy coalitions,” and so on (Heclo, 1978; Heinz et al., 1993; Knoke et al., 1996; Coleman & Skogstad, 1990; Skogstad, 2005; Lindquist, 1996; Montpetit, 2003; Atkinson & Coleman, 1996; Atkinson et al., 2013; Sabatier & Jenkins-Smith, 1993; Sabatier & Weible, 2007; Weible et al., 2009). Here, policy is shaped by alliances of state and non297

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state actors, and the borders between the public and private realms have become blurred. Even at a more centralized level, the ‘black box’ of government has become more transparent and more porous to outside influences. Not all organizations within the nebulous constellation of civil society, however, are equally placed to take advantage of this more open and accessible system. In particular, the emergence over several decades of a policy analysis movement has placed an emphasis on the application of analytical techniques to public policy problems, with a goal of establishing evidence-based policymaking. This has given priority to private sector organizations that have the greatest capability of marshalling such analyses. Michael Howlett has used the term “policy analytical capacity” to describe the “competences and capabilities involved in effective knowledge acquisition and utilization in the policy process” (Howlett, 2015, p. 174). It is a concept that can be applied both to organizations within the formal public sector and among organizations in civil society. Ceteris paribus, higher levels of policy analytical capacity are likely to be associated with a greater impact on public policy (Howlett, 2015; Savoie, 2003; Wu et al., 2015). Within government, the capacity for policy analysis can be related to the traditional and worthy goals of the policy analysis movement in seeking to bring about an improvement in policy outcomes and the effectiveness of government programmes (Dobuzinskis et al., 2007; Mintrom, 2007). But even here, political and institutional battles are commonplace and, perhaps inevitably, one person’s policy improvement is another person’s policy deterioration. In the private sector, policy analysis is not a disinterested or transcendental exercise in improving policy outcomes, but is intimately related to organizational values and is motivated by the advocacy of preferred policy options. Within civil society, congruence between organizational policy analysis and organizational goals is largely axiomatic. From this perspective, policy analysis is a weapon in the arsenal of policy influence— something to be employed in an advocacy battle with competing analyses from other organizations, inside or outside of government. The significance of policy analytical capacity in the Canadian policy process is, thus, subject to an important qualification. The distribution of analytical competences and capabilities is not uniform, but is unevenly dispersed both among government departments and agencies (Voyer, 2007; Howlett et al., 2014) and among organizations in civil society (Evans & Wellstead, 2013; Howlett, 2009; Laforest, 2013; Phillips, 2007; Cross, 2007; Murray, 2007; Jackson & Baldwin, 2007; Stritch, 2007). In some segments of civil society, such as the voluntary sector and political parties, the capacity for policy analysis is weak, underdeveloped or in retreat (Phillips, 2007; Laforest, 2013; Cross, 2007). In other cases, for example among trade unions, analytical capacity is more significant, but often operates within a hostile policy environment and against a backdrop of declining union density (Jackson & Baldwin, 2007). One area where policy analytical capacity seems to be the most robust is among organizations representing business (Stritch, 2007). This “lumpiness” of analytical capacity within civil society is important because it exists within a context where (a) non-state actors have been granted 298

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a bigger role in policymaking, and (b) there is a premium on the application of evidence-based analytical techniques to public policy problems. If private sector policy analysis is important in shaping public policy, and if there is a significant bias in the distribution of policy analytical capacities among different organizations within civil society, then it becomes harder to maintain the contention that there is a genuine pluralism in policy advisory systems. This chapter provides an updated picture of the policy analytical capacities of Canadian business associations based on a survey of policy analysis resources and activities that was sent to nearly 300 national associations in the summer of 2016.1 A similar survey was conducted in 2004 (Stritch, 2007), and the current study thus allows us to examine the evolution of analytical capacities among associations representing this important segment of civil society. Policy analytical capacity can encompass a variety of attributes. In broad terms, the concept “describes the ability of individuals in policy-relevant organizations to produce valuable policy-relevant research and analysis on topics asked of them or of their own choosing” (Howlett, 2015, p. 174). Although first applied to government actors, it can also be used to describe analytical capabilities in private sector organizations. It involves resources, skills and competences in the use of evidence-based analytical techniques; the ability to employ external analytical agencies; the capacity to operate across different venues of the policy process; and an ability to communicate and disseminate research results effectively. In applying this concept to business associations, this study conceives of policy analytical capacity in terms of the following parameters: • the level of in-house personnel resources devoted to policy analysis, measured by the number of analysts employed and whether these are full-time or also have other duties within the organization; • the frequency of analytical activity—whether it is something conducted continuously or intermittently; • the capacity to engage in formal quantitative techniques of policy analysis such as cost–benefit analysis; • the extent to which organizations are able to tap in to external resources for policy analysis such as the use of external consultants, polling organizations, law firms, other business associations, research institutes or universities; • whether organizations are capable of directing their analytical activities across multiple levels of government including federal, provincial and municipal levels as well as foreign governments and international organizations; • whether organizations are able to cover different areas of government policy activity such as legislative proposals, regulations, departmental reports and policies, parliamentary committees, judicial decisions, commissions of enquiry or task forces, and the policies of other non-governmental groups; • the ability and willingness to disseminate the results of policy analysis across a wide variety of actors, and the ability to use a range of different media for such dissemination. 299

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Each of these parameters was investigated in the survey to provide a multidimensional picture of the policy analytical capacities of business associations in Canada. The results are reported in the following sections beginning with personnel resources and the extent of policy analysis.

Personnel resources and the extent of policy analysis Two basic measures of analytical capacity are (i) the frequency of policy analysis by organizations, and (ii) the number of full-time, in-house, personnel who are employed to conduct this activity. These two variables provide indicators for the current levels of human resources committed to analysis, and for the stability of analytical activity over time. Because of the high level of association between these two variables (Tau-c = 0.724, P =