Policy Analysis in Canada: The State of the Art

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 All publications categories are included here: Annual Reviews, Council Reports, Conference Papers and Reports, Candid Project Reports, Staff Studies, Research Studies, and Discussion Papers. As some of the documents overlap several categories, the total number of citations (811) is greater than the total numbers of titles. Percentages do not add up to 100% because of rounding error.

130 For example, social indicators.

131 For example, Crown corporations, etc

132 Includes all (i.e., 28) Annual Reviews.

133 Including only some Annual Reviews dealing very explicitly with this subject, although all deal with it to some extent.

134 Author’s note: I would like to thank Evert Lindquist, Doug McArthur, Matthew Mendelsohn, Mathieu Ouimet, and the editors of this volume for their stimulating insights. I would also like to thank Derry O’Connor for his research assistance. Needless to say, any errors remain my own.

135 Childs (1965) compiled over fifty definitions of public opinion. Forty years later, the conceptual landscape has become even more confusing. The academic literature on the nature of public opinion—indeed its very existence--and its relation to voting and public policy is divided by several apparently irreconcilable theoretical and methodological fault lines and wrought with a myriad of unanswered questions.

136 Cited in Childs, Public Opinion, 17.

137 Factor scores of individual respondents were used instead of indices in an exploratory analysis. The use of indices produces slightly better results but the basic findings are similar in both analyses.

138 Responsiveness to public opinion is measured by the following prompt: ‘Please indicate whether you Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree or are Unsure with the statement: ‘We make policy in order to respond to public demands.’’ The prompt about public opinion sophistication reads as follows: ‘Please indicate whether you Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree or are Unsure with the statement: ‘The public has the sophistication necessary to make reasonable decision on most policy issues.’’ The variables are constructed by giving scores of 4 for ‘strongly agree’ responses, 3 for ‘agree,’ 2 for ‘disagree,’ and 1 for ‘strongly disagree.’ ‘Unsure’ responses are reported as missing values.

139 The corresponding prompt reads as follows: ‘When thinking of issues related to your work, how often do you consult public opinion before making a decision or a recommendation on those issues? Please check one answer: Always/almost always; Often/regularly; Sometimes/occasionally; Never/almost never; Unsure.’ The variable is constructed by giving scores of 4 for ‘always/almost always’ responses, 3 for ‘often/regularly,’ 2 for ‘sometimes/occasionally,’ and 1 for ‘never/almost never.’ ‘Unsure’ responses are reported as missing values.

140 See Gingras and Carrier (1996) for a study of how Quebec journalists define public opinion.


 This chapter is adapted from Chapter 3 of William Cross, Political Parties (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2004). I thank UBC Press for their permission to reprint much of this material.

142 For data relating to political parties, see Cross 2004. For data relating more generally to voters attitudes towards democratic institutions, see Howe and Northrup 2000.

143 For an overview of the historical efforts at increasing party members’ role in policy making see Carty, Cross and Young 2000, chapter 6.


 Along side of his purely academic work, the author is also presently a Director of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada’s Vancouver Regional Chapter, an associate member of two university based public policy research centres (Simon Fraser University’s Institute for Health Research and Education and the Centre for Public Policy Research) as well as the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. On occasions, he has also served as a contract researcher to government agencies, appeared as a witness before legislative committees, and been a participant in ‘stake-holder consultations’ convened by governmental agencies.

145 Keynes is credited with theoretically demonstrating why labour markets do not necessarily reach a balance of supply and demand no matter how far wages fall (1936). Keynes explained why the interventionist policies already adopted by several governments throughout the western world to combat the Depression of the 1930s, were not simply expedient measures, but theoretically sound policies that ought to be continued after the crisis had abated.

146 Graham K. Wilson, ‘American Business and Political Power: Public Opinion, Electronics and Democracy / Stuck in Neutral: Business and the Politics of Human Capital Investment / Does Business Learn?’ Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Vol.20, No.4 (Fall 2001), 790.

147 See, for example, William D. Coleman, Business and Politics: A Study of Collective Action (Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1988); Michael M. Atkinson and William D. Coleman, The State, Business, and Industrial Change in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1989); Stephen Brooks and Andrew Stritch, Business and Government in Canada (Scarborough, Ont.: Prentice-Hall, 1991); Stephen McBride and John Shields, Dismantling a Nation: The Transition to Corporate Rule in Canada, 2nd ed. (Halifax: Fernwood Publishing, 1997); Rianne Mahon, The Politics of Industrial Restructuring: Canadian Textiles (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984); and Peter Clancy, Micropolitics and Canadian Business: Paper, Steel and the Airlines (Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview Press, 2004). There are also a few texts from a business school perspective such as, W. T. Stanbury, Business-Government Relations in Canada: Influencing Public Policy, 2nd ed. (Scarborough, Ont.: Nelson Canada, 1993); and D. Wayne Taylor, Allan A. Warrack and Mark C. Baetz, Business and Government in Canada: Partners for the Future (Scarborough, Ont.: Prentice-Hall, 1999).

148 The survey was mailed to 180 business associations in Canada whose activities and organization transcended a single province or region, and whose members were mainly private sector companies rather than individuals. The latter was to distinguish between trade associations and professional groups. Also excluded were international or US associations that included Canadian members, as well as various ad hoc business coalitions that are set up from time to time for specific purposes. ‘Super-associations’ such as the Formulated Products Industry Coalition which is an association made up of other trade associations were similarly excluded. The survey was conducted during the Spring of 2004 and the response rate was just over fifty percent. There were few outstanding variations in response rate by sector with business services being the lowest at 25 percent and communications being the highest at 73 percent. However, 70 percent of sectors were within one standard deviation of the mean.

149 William D. Coleman, Business and Politics: A Study of Collective Action (Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1988), 45.

150 The ‘Low’ category consisted of those groups that employed only one analyst either part-time or on a less than continuous basis. The ‘High’ category consisted of those groups that employed four or more full-time analysts on a continuous basis, and the ‘Moderate’ category consisted of those groups in between.

151 Sectors were based on a slightly modified version of Statistics Canada’s former Standard Industrial Classification. This corresponded more readily with the division of labour amongst Canadian trade associations than did the more recent North American Industry Classification System.

152 Evert A. Lindquist, ‘New Agendas for Research on Policy Communities: Policy Analysis, Administration and Governance,’ in L. Dobuzinskis, M. Howlett and D. Laycock (eds.), Policy Studies in Canada: The State of the Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996), 222.

153 Ibid., 222-23

154 Michael J. Prince, ‘Soft Craft, Hard Choices, Altered Context: Reflections on 25 Years of Policy Advice in Canada,’ Paper presented at the Workshop on Policy Analysis in Canada, Simon Fraser University, Sept. 2004, 9.

155 Donald E. Abelson, ‘Any Ideas?: Think Tanks and Policy Analysis in Canada,’ 17 and Kimberley Speers, ‘The Invisible Private Service: The Rise of the Consultant in Government,’ paper presented at the Policy Analysis Workshop at Simon Fraser University (Sept. 2004), 5.

156 Robert A. Heineman et al., The World of the Policy Analyst: Rationality, Values and Politics, 3rd ed. (New York: Chatham House, 2002), 49-55 and 105; and Lewis G. Irwin, The Policy Analyst’s Handbook: Rational Problem Solving in a Political World (Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 2003), 62.

157 Michael C. Munger, Analyzing Policy: Choices, Conflicts and Practices (New York: W.W. Norton, 2000), 134.

158 Aidan R. Vining and Anthony E. Boardman, ‘Policy Analysis Methods in Canada,’ paper submitted to the Policy Analysis Workshop at Simon Fraser University (Sept. 2004), 6.

159 Kimberley Speers, ‘The Invisible Private Service: The Rise of the Consultant in Government’, paper presented at the Policy Analysis Workshop at Simon Fraser University (Sept. 2004), 32.

160 Donald E. Abelson, ‘Any Ideas?: Think Tanks and Policy Analysis in Canada’, 20-21.

161 William D. Coleman, Business and Politics: A Study of Collective Action (Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1988), 219-23.

162 Doug McArthur, ‘Policymaking and Analysis in Provincial Governments in Canada: Problems and Trends’, paper submitted to the Policy Analysis Workshop at Simon Fraser University (Sept. 2004), 1-2.

163 R. Kenneth Godwin and Barry J. Seldon, ‘What Corporations Really Want From Government: The Public Provision of Private Goods’, in A.J. Cigler and B.A. Loomis (eds.), Interest Group Politics, 6th ed. (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2002), 221.

164 D. Wayne Taylor, Allan A. Warrack and Mark C. Baetz, Business and Government in Canada: Partners for the Future (Scarborough, Ont.: Prentice-Hall, 1999), 138.

165 Ibid., 182.

166 William Cross, ‘Political Parties Capacity for Policy Study and Development’, paper submitted to the Canadian Political Science Association, Annual Conference, Winnipeg (June 2004), 1.

167 Conventional news media continue to dominate most of Canadian citizens’ information-seeking. Fully two-thirds—68%, or about 21 million—say they watch TV news daily. See the Senate of Canada, Interim Report on the Canadian News Media. Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications. (Ottawa: April, 2004.) (Hereinafter cited as Interim Senate Report.)

168 A survey of the past four years of How Ottawa Spends, which reviews a wide range of annual developments in policy fields, reveals 14 of 45 articles make ancillary reference to the media, with only two ascribing an influential role. Media sources apparently are not monitored, not considered useful or not acceptable for citation in academic policy analysis. Few academic practitioners operationalize the media as an independent actor in the policy field.

169 In terms of resources invested, the media surpass all but the university sector. The regulated sector of news media must report expenditures on programming to their regulatory agency. In 2002, private commercial TV broadcasters spent $288 million on news in English: closely followed by $230 million spent by the CBC. Total spending combined in Quebec was $135 million, for a Canadian total of $654.18 million (Interim Senate Report, 25). On a per-capita basis, this represents about $21 per annum to reach citizens. Hard numbers on print newsroom budgets are not available, but are expected to be about twice that.

170 With the firing of Russell Mills of the Ottawa Citizen and Stephen Kimber of the Halifax Daily News for their political views, both by the CanWest chain, they are all too real. (Media, Winter 2002).

171 When Canadians are asked to rate how much influence each actor actually has on decisions concerning major public issues and how much each should have, the media experience an ‘influence gap,’ with 79% saying they have moderate to great influence (5-7 on a 7-point scale) while just 34% say they should. Frank Graves argues that the media and big business are the two main policy actors whose power Canadians would like to see reduced. Frank Graves, ‘Rethinking Government as If People Mattered: From ‘Reaganomics’ to ‘Humanomics’’ in How Ottawa Spends 1999-2000, edited by Leslie A. Pal (Don Mills, Ont: Oxford, 1999), 37-75.

172 In the US, Pew and Columbia University now jointly produce an annual report on the state of the media which offers a useful compendium of content analyses, overview of trends, and surveys of editors and journalists to speak to the political climate. See http://www.stateofthemedia.org/narrative_newspapers_contentanalysis.asp?cat=2&media=2

173 A joint venture by three universities, the Consortium was founded through a commitment of $500,000 per annum for seven years ($3.5 million in total) made by BCE as part of the Public Benefits Package approved by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission when BCE purchased CTV.

174 Simon Tuck, ‘Liberals Unveil New Whistle Blower Legislation,’ The Globe and Mail, (October 9, 2004). Public servants will be able to go directly to the president of the Public Service Commission as a neutral third-party refuge for those with complaints of wrongdoing, but some argue it should be the Auditor General’s office.

175 It won the CAJ (Canadian Association of Journalists), CAN (Canadian Association of Newspapers), Justicia and Michener Awards.

176 After the story broke in the HRDC audit case, the National Post filed additional Access to Information requests and conducted a computer-assisted analysis of 1,000 grants in Quebec to test for ‘pork barrelling’ in Bloc swing ridings. In another case, the Globe and Mail ran a four part investigative series on bike gang consolidation in Canada in the summer of 2004, pointing out the ‘woeful’ resources of Crown prosecutors. Subsequently, the Ontario Solicitor General established a permanent major case prosecution team on biker charges, leading Greenspon to note ‘it’s always gratifying in journalism when your efforts inspire results.’ Letter from the Editor, The Globe and Mail. August 14, 2004. A2. See how another paper jumped on the bandwagon, in Chad Skelton and Lori Cuthbert with Judith Lavoie.2004. Special Report: How Organized Crime has Infliltrated Our Communities. The Vancouver Sun. September 10.

177 It provides important insight into developing agenda stories and continuing ones still meriting press attention. In June 2004, 109 media requests were logged, and 32 Opposition parliamentary requests. Unfortunately, the government database will not reveal the specific institutional media source, superficially, anyway, protecting the privacy of the journalist, but masking the media outlet. The bulk of requests were around health issues, to do with adverse drug reaction information, risks of avian flu or mad cow disease, and data on the extent of drug trade in the Internet Pharmacy sector. Two actually probed government responses to media investigations: to a CTV and Globe investigative report on pharmaceutical products in the water, and CBC’s Faint Warning series on new drug side effects that aired February 16, 2004.


The research assistance of Elaina Mack and Brian Desroiries Tam and the constructive advice provided by the editors are appreciated. Research for this chapter was supported by a Strategic grant from the Nonprofit granting stream of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

 Interest (or pressure) groups are commonly defined as ‘organizations whose members act together to influence public policy in order to promote their common interest’ (Pross 1986, 13).

179 Whether there is sufficient cohesion for Canadian voluntary associations to be called a sector at all is contested, as is the choice of an appropriate name. There are national differences in naming this sector: in the United States, ‘nonprofit’ is the most common label; in the UK, ‘voluntary and community’ is widely used; and in Canada, ‘voluntary’ or ‘voluntary and nonprofit’ has become popular. The term,’ third sector,’ is used more commonly in the academic literature than it is in practice among organizations in this sector.

180 One reason that there is such a bifurcation is that universities, colleges and hospitals, which are registered charities, are included in the NSNVO and they skew indicators of size and revenues to the high end.

181 The NSNVO includes professional and business associations and unions, which collectively constitute 5.3 percent of the voluntary and nonprofit sector (Statistics Canada et al. 2004, 18).

182 There is considerable debate in the institutional literature about the degree of determinism involved in path dependency and the processes by which institutions change and evolve. For different views on path dependency see Piersen (2000), Dobrolowsky and Saint-Martin (2003) and Thelen (2003).

183 Federal regulations also severely limit the ability of third parties, including voluntary and business associations and corporations, to advocate policy positions during electoral campaigns by purchasing advertising, a limit that was recently upheld by the Supreme Court. For a discussion of this aspect of regulation see Pross and Webb (2003, 104)

184 Perhaps the most vocal of these has been Bishop Henry, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Calgary, who wrote a pastoral letter to his congregation (that was also posted on its website) during the 2004 election campaign that harshly criticized Paul Martin for claiming to be a devout Catholic given his position on same sex marriage and abortion. Bishop Henry received a warning from the Canada Revenue Agency not to engage in partisan rhetoric. See Michael Valpy and Gloria Galloway, ‘Revenue Agent Threatened Tax Hit, Bishop Says,’ Globe and Mail, October 22, 2004, A7.

185 As Stritch notes in the following chapter, business associations also have fewer staff doing policy work than the popular image of powerful business lobbies might suggest. Nevertheless, the comparison is stark: whereas 63 percent of business associations have one person or fewer in policy positions, 84 percent of voluntary organizations (extrapolating from the study of health organizations) have no policy staff at all.

186 In the NSNVO, problems in recruiting board members was reported by 56 percent of all voluntary organizations, making it the second more pervasive difficulty they face, just behind the challenge of recruiting the type of volunteers the organization needs (Statistics Canada et al. 2004, 44).


 Details of CLC policy-related activities are reported in the reports of the Executive Council to CLC Conventions, available in the CLC Library.

188 On the centrality of labour market deregulation to current economic orthodoxy, see: Baker et al. 2002.

189 http://www.caw.ca/campaigns&issues/ongoingcampaigns/autopolicy/index.asp

190 http://www.cupe.ca/www/privatization

191 http://www.cep.ca/policies/policy_917_e.pdf

192 Available from http://www.nursesunions.ca/docs/Sustainability-Report-2004-07-29-en.pdf.

193 ‘How the Door to National Pharmacare Swung Open.’ (2004). M. Campbell. Globe and Mail. (July 31).

194 Much of the policy analysis material is posted at http://www.clc-ctc.ca/web/issues/policy/en_index.shtml.

195 See recent CLC convention policy statements and pre-Budget briefs to the House of Commons Finance Committee, available from http://www.clc-ctc.ca .

196 The Board was abolished in 1998.

197 On the internal labour debate, see the contributions by Hugh Mackenzie, and Sam Gindin and David Robertson in Drache 1992.

198 See: www.policyaltenatives.ca .

199 On the history and impact of the AFB, see: Loxley 2003, and contributions to Akram-Lodhi et al. 2004.

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