Tag Archives: Government

  • Thinking Government

    Author David Johnson introduces the fourth edition of his bestselling public administration textbook, Thinking Government, and explains how a knowledge of the federal government and its public service is necessary for understanding current political, social, and economic issues.

    Who says Canadian politics and government is boring? As we enter 2017, the federal Liberal government of Justin Trudeau has a lot on its plate: promoting the development of oil pipelines to the United States and to the Pacific tidewater all the while seeking to meet Canada’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a way to address global climate change; trying to kick-start a sluggish economy through infrastructure spending and corresponding deficit-financing while also working to show fiscal prudence; and trying to improve the quality of Canadian healthcare programming while keeping costs down, patients content, and provincial premiers not up in arms. Throw in a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, initiatives to legalize marijuana, electoral reform, a new Canadian peacekeeping mission to Africa, the purchase of new military jets and ships, and you get the picture.

    But there’s more. There’s always more. The American presidential election last November just made Prime Minister Trudeau’s life a whole lot more difficult. Rather than having to deal with a more ideological soul-mate in Hillary Clinton, Trudeau now has to work with Donald Trump. We can’t help but wonder what those meetings will be like. Does the new American President know that over a billion dollars in trade goods moves across the Canadian-American border every day? He’ll soon find out, with Trudeau and his diplomats working to educate the President and his White House staff on the importance of the Canadian-American relationship.

    And closer to home our prime minister has simmering problems of his own making. The Cash-for-Access issue has the potential to become a running sore for his government if he doesn’t take corrective action. Once again, a Liberal government is facing pointed questions about how ethical and accountable it is for its method of raising party finances and its policy-making function.

    Thinking GovernmentSo there couldn’t be a better time for the arrival of the fourth edition of Thinking Government: Public Administration and Politics in Canada. This book, now a staple in public administration and public sector management courses across this country, has been fully revised and updated to take account of the demise of the Conservative government of Stephen Harper in 2015 and the rise to power of Justin Trudeau and his team. In the election of that year, Trudeau repeatedly said that “in Canada, better is always possible.” We now get to assess how well he and his government can match campaign rhetoric with policy reality.

    All the core attributes that made Thinking Government the “go-to book” on Canadian public administration have been preserved in this latest edition. The introduction and the first chapter set the stage for what’s to come, giving readers a compelling look at the major social and economic issues that all federal governments are called upon to deal with as they strive to govern this country well. The second chapter takes readers into the world of ideas and ideologies and how they shape the way leaders, governments, and we as citizens think about power and politics and policies, and what the role of governments should be in this society. If anyone ever questioned the worth of studying ideology as a means to understanding governmental behaviour, the Harper years drove home the truth that all leaders and governments are ideological and they seek power to achieve ideological ends. After nine years of conservative rule we are back to a liberally-minded government. But how liberal will Trudeau be? Thinking Government poses some questions and offers yardsticks by which we can measure this.

    Central chapters in the book provide deep background to the structures of the federal government and its public service and the power relations between elected ministers and senior public servants. The fundamentals of organizational theory are covered in Chapter 5 while individual chapters give students in-depth coverage of both financial and human relations management. Latter chapters address issues dealing with on-going concerns about management reform, ethics, accountability, and the nature and quality of political and governmental leadership.

    The Thinking Government website contains loads of additional information and material for each chapter. You’ll find relevant historical analysis, case studies, extension pieces, study questions, quizzes, and downloadable extras. The website has been thoroughly updated and refreshed by Alana Lawrence and she has made sure that it’s relevant, approachable, and student-friendly.

    We will both be providing regular blog posts dealing with the life and times of the federal government, while also issuing Strategic Reports on federal politics every four months or so. Alana is also the Thinking Government website’s resident New Professional and she will be providing a wealth of information and insight on everything from New Professionalism theory and institutional initiatives to advice on landing that first public sector job and launching your career.

    We hope you enjoy reading Thinking Government and experiencing the website and our blog posts. You are the reason all of this exists and we wish you well as you get into thinking government.

    David Johnson is Professor of Political Science at Cape Breton University and author of Thinking Government, Fourth Edition.

    Alana Lawrence is a graduate of Cape Breton University and provided updates to the Thinking Government, Fourth Edition website.

  • The Canadian Environment in Political Context

    To mark the publication of The Canadian Environment in Political Context, the author, Andrea Olive, provides an overview of the book’s contents in addition to reflecting on why she decided to write the book and how its approach will benefit students.

    Canadian Environment in Political Context_FINALThe Canadian Environment in Political Context is a direct outcome of my own cross-border and cross-discipline background. I grew up in Saskatchewan and moved to Alberta and then Nova Scotia for university. After that, I hopped across the border to Washington DC to work for a lobby group in higher education. From there it was a quick jump to Indiana for my PhD. While all my academic degrees are in the discipline of political science, my research tends to cross over into geography, environmental studies, Indigenous studies, and public law. I started my academic career at the University of Michigan-Dearborn where I taught American environmental policy and researched endangered species conservation and Arctic issues. In 2012, I returned home to Canada and took a position at the University of Toronto where I am officially cross-appointed between the departments of political science and geography. I now teach Canadian environmental policy. Since the Canadian political system is so different from the US system, I have had to reorient myself in order to understand the environment inside a parliamentary democracy.

    This book is based on my experience of teaching environmental policy in a political science department for the past six years. What I have come to realize is that you cannot understand environmental policy until you understand federalism. This is truer in Canada than the US since sub-national jurisdictions in Canada (the provinces and to some extent the territories) have enormous power in natural resource development and property regulations. You also cannot fully grasp environmental policy without knowledge of Indigenous politics (in the North but also across the country) and recent Supreme Court decisions. Canadian politics is fascinating. Even more so, putting Canadian environmental policy into its political context is both enthralling and necessary.

    The book is organized into twelve chapters that in many respects reflect twelve different lectures or modules in my undergraduate course. But more than just lectures, the chapters should reflect the thousands of conversations that I have had with students, colleagues, and policy makers in recent years.

    The book begins with an overview of Canada’s environmental track record from coast to coast to coast. The next two chapters present a broad outline of the Canadian political system and policy process. The fourth chapter is a sweeping history of environmentalism in Canada, focusing on the “waves” in the twentieth century, and then the inertia under the most recent Conservative government. Chapters five through eight are issue focused: endangered species, water, land, and energy. Understanding the role of the federal government and the provinces is the key focus, but attention is also given to the role of cities, non-governmental organizations, and citizens in each issue-area. Aboriginal politics is the topic of chapter nine and provides the reader with an introduction to Indigenous peoples in Canada as well as a history of aboriginal law and environmental policy across the country. This flows nicely into chapter ten, which focuses on the North and Far North where First Nations and Inuit play a large role in natural resource management and environmental policy making (and implementation). However, the chapter also focuses on energy politics and international governance via the Arctic Council. Chapter eleven places the Canadian environment into a global context, and explains the country’s role in international agreements on environmental issues like biodiversity, hazardous chemicals, and climate change. Finally, the concluding chapter provides both a summary of the book’s main points as well as a forward-looking account of Canada in the twenty-first century. Ultimately hopeful, the book posits that the best environmental policies lie ahead.

    The obvious intention of the book is to help undergraduate students understand how the Canadian political system, namely federalism, shapes environmental policy and law in the country. However, the book should also engage readers and inspire deeper exploration into the concepts and issues discussed in the twelve chapters. American readers will be able to draw contrasts to their own political system in which federalism is organized differently and, consequently, plays into environmental policy differently. Since Canada and the US are so deeply intertwined from both an economic and an environmental standpoint, the book covers many topics that can best be understood in a North American context. Similarly, other international readers should hopefully be able to understand why Canada makes environmental policy (or fails to make policy) the way it does. Ultimately, I hope all readers finish the book with a new appreciation of the Canadian environment and a desire to change the way they think and act toward a variety of environmental issues.

    Andrea Olive is Assistant Professor of Political science and Geography at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Her most recent book is Land, Stewardship, and Legitimacy: Endangered Species Policy in Canada and the United States.

  • The Hill Times' Top 100 Best Books for 2012

    The Hill Times has released their 100 Best Books for 2012 and 24 University of Toronto Press titles have made the cut! Here are the UTP books in alphabetical order.

    Access to Medicines as a Human Right: Implications for Pharmaceutical Industry Responsibility edited by Lisa Forman and Jillian Clare Kohler.

    Arming and Disarming: A History of Gun Control in Canada by R. Blake Brown

    Canada Looks South: In Search of an Americas Policy edited by Peter McKenna

    Canada's National Security in the Post-9/11 World: Strategy, Interests, and Threats edited by David S. McDonough

    Canada: What It Is, What It Can Be by Roger Martin and James Milway

    Canadians and the Natural Environment to the Twenty-First Century by Neil S. Forkey

    Changing Politics of Canadian Social Policy, Second Edition by James J. Rice and Michael J. Prince

    Dominance and Decline: Making Sense of Recent Canadian Elections by Elisabeth Gidengil, Neil Nevitte, André Blais, Joanna Everitt, and Patrick Fournier. This title was also chosen as one of the Top 25 Editor's Picks.

    Dreams and Due Diligence: Till and McCulloch's Stem Cell Discovery and Legacy by Joe Sornberger

    Empire's Ally: Canada and the War in Afghanistan edited by Jerome Klassen and Greg Albo

    Global Ecopolitics: Crisis, Governance, and Justice by Peter J. Stoett

    Making Medicare: New Perspectives on the History of Medicare in Canada edited by Gregory P. Marchildon

    None is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe, 1933-1948 by Irving Abella and Harold Troper

    North America in Question: Regional Integration in an Era of Economic Turbulence edited by Jeffrey Ayres and Laura Macdonald

    Our War on Ourselves: Rethinking Science, Technology, and Economic Growth by Willem H. Vanderburg

    Politics: An Introduction to the Modern Democratic State, Fourth Edition by Larry Johnston

    Secret Service: Political Policing in Canada from the Fenians to Fortress America by Reg Whitaker, Gregory S. Kealey, and Andrew Parnaby

    Social Conservatives and Party Politics in Canada and the United States by James Farney

    The Canadian Regime: An Introduction to Parliamentary Government in Canada, Fifth Edition by Patrick Malcolmson and Richard Myers

    The Democratic Imagination: Envisioning Popular Power in the Twenty-First Century by James Cairns and Alan Sears

    The Great Reversal: How We Let Technology Take Control of the Planet by David Edward Tabachnick

    The Labyrinth of North American Identities by Philip Resnick

    Three Bio-Realms: Biotechnology and the Governance of Food, Health, and Life in Canada by G. Bruce Doern and Michael J. Prince

    Check out the full list here. We'd like to congratulate all the authors whose books were featured on the list.

  • The Hill Times 100 Best Books - 2011 Edition

    We are thrilled to announce that 18 UTP books have been listed on the Hill Times' Best Books of 2011 List for political, government, public policy, and Canadian history reads.

    Number 6 on the list is Beyond the Nation edited by Alexander Freund.

    Stephen Clarkson and Matto Mildenberger's Dependent America? came in at number 20 on the list.

    Engendering Migrant Health edited by Denise Spitzer is number 24 on the list.

    Number 32 on the list is A.E. Safarian's Foreign Ownership of Canadian Industry, Third Edition.

    Coming in at number 37 is Gambling for Profit by Kerry G.E. Chambers.

    Katherine Fierlbeck's Health Care in Canada is at number 42.

    At number 48 is Immigration Dialectic by Harald Bauder.

    The Natural City, edited by Ingrid Leman Stefanovic and Stephen Bede Scharper, is number 62.

    Closely followed by The New African Diaspora in Vancouver by Gillian Creese at number 63.

    David Edward Tabachnick and Toivo Koivukoski came in at number 67 with On Oligarchy.

    Policy Paradigms, Transnationalism, and Domestic Politics edited by Grace Skogstad came in at number 73.

    Number 74 on the list is The Politics of Race, Second Edition by Jill Vickers and Annette Isaac.

    Will C. van den Hoonaard's Seduction of Ethics is number 83.

    Number 85 is Richard U'Ren's Social Perspective.

    Number 86 is Social Support, Health, and Illness by Ranjan Roy.

    Number 87 is Greg Pyrcz with The Study of Politics.

    The third edition of Thinking Government by David Johnston came in at number 90.

    Elke Winter rounds out the list with Us, Them, and Others at number 96.

    Congratulations to all those who made the list!

    *Note: the list is organized alphabetically by title

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