Usually, the summer period is a relatively slow time for public servants across the county. Parliaments and legislatures are in recess, politicians are spending much deserved time in their ridings, and family vacations become a priority for hard working staff.
However, this year seems to be an exception. Issues with the Phoenix Pay system, dramatic policy shifts on the Ontario political scene, federal-provincial wrangling over Carbon Tax, and heated debates over refugee housing and settlement have dominated the news media; and I’m sure, the minds of government executives as well.
In this edition of CGE, we touch on some of these issues and explore public service in Northern Canada.
At the end of my public service career, after over three decades of work in Ontario, I had the privilege of fulfilling a lifelong dream and working in the North for the Yukon Territorial Government as Deputy Minister of Energy Mines and Resources. This experience opened my eyes to the richness of life in the North, the significant impact that public servants have on communities and the unique challenges of working in northern Canada.
Having spent this time in the Yukon, it also became apparent to me how poor the understanding is of the North is amongst most Canadians. Most Canadians have vague, romantic notions of the North, but few understand the unique attributes of territorial life that emanate from a more fundamental relationship with Indigenous communities; some of which have modern treaties, the reliance on industries for economic security, consensus government models of governing in the NWT and Nunavut, different relationships with the Federal government, and the top-of-mind concerns about the impacts of climate change on the northern way of life.
All of this makes for a vibrant environment for public servants working in the North. We have several contributions that profile public service work in the North. In this edition, I sat down with Dr. Joe Dragon, Deputy Minister of Environment and Natural Resources for the government of the NWT and Janet King, President of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency. Both Joe and Janet have fascinating public service stories, share a passion for the North and have unique and refreshing perspectives on leadership.
Also, we have some thought-provoking articles on the importance of innovation in government. A new contributor to CGE, Ed Bernacki, outlines the necessary ingredients for a new culture of innovation within the Canadian public service based on his international work. We also have articles on innovation in social services, the importance of cities in immigration policy, the necessary ingredients for success in public service reform and the lessons learned from a series of public service management reforms. All our regular contributors are with us again, offering opinions on the public service issues of the day and pointing busy executives toward helpful tools and reading materials.
I’m excited to announce that a new member was added to the CGE team. Lori Turnbull was recently appointed as Deputy Editor of CGE. She brings a dynamic skill set to CGE from her work as a professor at Dalhousie University teaching political science, as well as being the Interim Director of the School of Public Administration and a fellow at the Public Forum Policy. I will continue to serve as Editor-in-Chief overseeing the advisory board as well as the content strategy for CGE, and I look forward to working with Lori.
Stay tuned for more news and, as always, comments, contributions, and advice are still welcome.
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