Backrooms and Beyond: Partisan Advisers and the Politics of Policy Work in Canada

By Jonathan Craft

© 2016

Though they serve in many roles and under many titles, no one doubts that political staffs now wield substantial influence in the making of government policy. Backrooms and Beyond draws on interviews with ministers, senior public servants, and political advisers to offer the first detailed Canadian treatment of how that influence is gained and exercised in the policy making process.

A comparative analysis of case studies from three Canadian jurisdictions, including the federal Prime Minister’s Office, two premier’s offices, and ministers’ offices, the book presents a detailed account of partisan advisers’ involvement in policy work and a new theoretical framework for understanding this work and its impact. As Jonathan Craft shows, partisan advisers often engage in policy work with public servants, outside stakeholders, and often in types of policy work that public servants cannot.

Backrooms and Beyond is a rich and rigorous look at an important aspect of contemporary Canadian politics, essential reading for scholars and practitioners, journalists, students of the Westminster system from around the world, and those wanting to understand just how policy is made today.

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Product Details

  • Series: IPAC Series in Public Management and Governance
  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 328 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.8in x 9.0in
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  • PUBLISHED APR 2016

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    ISBN 9781442626355
  • PUBLISHED APR 2016

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    ISBN 9781442648760
  • PUBLISHED MAY 2016

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Quick Overview

Backrooms and Beyond draws on interviews with ministers, senior public servants, and political advisers to offer the first detailed Canadian treatment of how that influence is gained and exercised in the policy making process.

Backrooms and Beyond: Partisan Advisers and the Politics of Policy Work in Canada

By Jonathan Craft

© 2016

Though they serve in many roles and under many titles, no one doubts that political staffs now wield substantial influence in the making of government policy. Backrooms and Beyond draws on interviews with ministers, senior public servants, and political advisers to offer the first detailed Canadian treatment of how that influence is gained and exercised in the policy making process.

A comparative analysis of case studies from three Canadian jurisdictions, including the federal Prime Minister’s Office, two premier’s offices, and ministers’ offices, the book presents a detailed account of partisan advisers’ involvement in policy work and a new theoretical framework for understanding this work and its impact. As Jonathan Craft shows, partisan advisers often engage in policy work with public servants, outside stakeholders, and often in types of policy work that public servants cannot.

Backrooms and Beyond is a rich and rigorous look at an important aspect of contemporary Canadian politics, essential reading for scholars and practitioners, journalists, students of the Westminster system from around the world, and those wanting to understand just how policy is made today.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: IPAC Series in Public Management and Governance
  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 328 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.8in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    “It is a thoughtful and reassuring guide for those left confused or concerned by the limited insights of the [Mike] Duffy trial.”


    Howard Anglin
    Policy Options, August 15, 2016

    ‘Craft’s study is the first in decades to meaningfully differentiate the roles of political staff in order to focus on those who provide policy advice. This book is essential reading for scholars who are interested in policy making, public administration, and Canadian institutions generally.’


    Anna L. Esselment
    Canadian Journal of Political Science vol 50:03:2017

    "Backrooms and Beyond is an interesting and insightful contribution to our understanding of policy work. Through his case studies, Jonathan Craft convincingly shows that partisan advisers do matter for contemporary governing in Canada, especially in and around the core executive."


    Michael J. Prince, Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy, Faculty of Human and Social Development, University of Victoria

    "Jonathan Craft is among the most knowledgeable thinkers on this topic in Canada. His book is a tremendous contribution to the field."


    Bryan M. Evans, Department of Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University
  • Author Information

    Jonathan Craft is a cross-appointed assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, and School of Public Policy and Governance, at the University of Toronto.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction. Partisan Advisers, Policy Work, and The Political Arm of Government in Canada

    Chapter 1. A ‘No Surprises’ Environment
    Chapter 2. Institutionalization, Expansion, and Specialization
    Chapter 3. Buffers and Bridges at the “Centre”
    Chapter 4. Movers and Shapers at the Centre
    Chapter 5. He Said/She Said: Ministers’ Office Buffers and Bridges
    Chapter 6. Movers and Shapers Down the Line
    Chapter 7. Conclusion. Core Executives, Partisan Advisers, and the Politics of Policy Work in Canada

    References
    Appendices
    Appendix A. Federal Exempt Staff by Department (March 31, 2001 - March 31, 2014)
    Appendix B. Organization of B.C. Premier’s Office (2001)
    Appendix C. Organization of B.C. Premier’s Office (2011)
    Appendix D. B.C. Ministers’ Office Staff by Department and Classification (1996-2001)
    Appendix E. Interview Index

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