Public Policy Book Club – Pre-Suasion

presuasionOn Monday, March 27th, the Public Policy Book Club will be discussing “Pre-Suasian: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade” by Robert Cialdini.  If you are interested in joining, email You can also check out to see what other books are on the reading list.

From the publisher:

The author of the legendary bestseller Influence, social psychologist Robert Cialdini shines a light on effective persuasion and reveals that the secret doesn’t lie in the message itself, but in the key moment before that message is delivered.

What separates effective communicators from truly successful persuaders? Using the same combination of rigorous scientific research and accessibility that made his Influence an iconic bestseller, Robert Cialdini explains how to capitalize on the essential window of time before you deliver an important message. This “privileged moment for change” prepares people to be receptive to a message before they experience it. Optimal persuasion is achieved only through optimal pre-suasion. In other words, to change “minds” a pre-suader must also change “states of mind.”

His first solo work in over thirty years, Cialdini’s Pre-Suasion draws on his extensive experience as the most cited social psychologist of our time and explains the techniques a person should implement to become a master persuader. Altering a listener’s attitudes, beliefs, or experiences isn’t necessary, says Cialdini—all that’s required is for a communicator to redirect the audience’s focus of attention before a relevant action.

From studies on advertising imagery to treating opiate addiction, from the annual letters of Berkshire Hathaway to the annals of history, Cialdini draws on an array of studies and narratives to outline the specific techniques you can use on online marketing campaigns and even effective wartime propaganda. He illustrates how the artful diversion of attention leads to successful pre-suasion and gets your targeted audience primed and ready to say, “Yes.”


Learning to Learn: Civil Servants and the Real Challenge of Reconciliation

Dr. Ken Coates

Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples has emerged – at long last – as a national priority. The Government of Canada under Prime Minster Trudeau has made improving relations with Aboriginal Canadians a “whole of government” commitment. The underlying issues are numerous and substantial, ranging from widespread poverty, housing crises in many communities, cultural loss, to local economic development and major issues with local infrastructure.  For federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments there is a substantial list of urgent needs and conflicting priorities.  For Indigenous governments, many with growing administrative responsibilities and increased financial resources, the challenges are even more pressing.


The national commitment to reconciliation places major responsibilities on the backs of the country’s civil servants. Indeed, substantial and sustained reconciliation is impossible without the deep engagement of the civil service with the rebuilding of relationships with Indigenous peoples. Given the fundamental importance of government social service programs, community infrastructure development, policing, environmental assessment, fire protection and safety, education and health services, and other areas of engagement, civil servants clearly play a significant role in working with Indigenous communities and enhancing quality of life outcomes.  At this point, where many civil servants have limited engagement with Indigenous issues, the basic reality is that the profession needs to learn how to learn about Indigenous peoples, communities and public policy issues.

In many governments, particularly those (like the Government of Canada) that have adopted a “whole of government” approach to Indigenous affairs, many civil servants have some responsibility for Indigenous issues. These are important obligations.  Successful civil servants contribute substantially to the resolution and management of vital issues that range from health care provision and road construction to resource development and constitutional affairs. At the same time, civil servants who are poorly prepared for work with communities, who do not understand cultural protocols or appreciate the nature and responsibilities of Indigenous governments, add to inter-governmental difficulties and slow development projects.

Civil servants, many finding their work intersecting with numerous Indigenous communities, face the challenge of developing cross-cultural skills, an understanding of the affected Indigenous peoples and the managerial abilities needed to engage effectively with diverse communities. They need to be alert to the fast changing political and legal developments in Indigenous affairs while also being aware of the legacy of generations of paternalism and colonialism that shapes Indigenous understanding of the role and values of the Canadian civil service.  Working successfully with Indigenous organizations, in other words, can be difficult and professionally risky, particularly if a particular government unit involved does not have a history of successful collaboration and outreach.

Canadians look to their governments to provide role models for the effective application of national and sub-national policy priorities. This was the case with bilingualism, with the federal civil service setting the standard for the development of inclusive French-language services.  Federal and provincial governments showed the way on Canadian multiculturalism, both by hiring employees from diverse backgrounds, building awareness of cultural differences into their service delivery models, and promoting multi-cultural engagement generally.  The civil service should be, but is not in the main, using government innovation with information technology to pave the way for greater technology application across the country as a whole.  The civil service can shape the national character, but it is not inevitable that they will do so.

The country will – and should – look to the Canadian civil service for leadership on reconciliation. The political arm of government can address most of the ceremonial and high profile elements of rebuilding relations with Indigenous peoples. The civil service is called to convert promises and commitments into core government actions.  This will necessitate greater employment of Indigenous workers, new styles of collaboration and consultation with Indigenous communities, widespread integration of Indigenous issues into program and departmental activities, and outreach to Indigenous organizations.  Staff training and professional development should involve much more engagement with Indigenous governments and communities and not just conversations about Indigenous issues.  Civil servants need to visit Indigenous settlements or urban facilities so that they get a personal sense of the achievements and challenges facing the communities.

There is a test for the civil service and it is one, sadly, where progress has been slow. For more than a generation, Indigenous leaders have argued that they should be recognized as an additional level of government.  Many Indigenous communities are functioning as governments. Indigenous administrations, typically reporting to a Chief and Council, manage government funds, hire and train staff members, develop policies, raise income (including taxes in some instances), supervise the construction and maintenance of infrastructure, and provide a variety of community-level services.  Their work shares a fair bit in common with municipal or regional governments, but also with elements of provincial/territorial and even federal responsibilities.  In other words, Indigenous administrations look like governments, act like governments, and have civil service employees, like all governments.

The Canadian civil service, through its professional associations, conferences, and organizations, has to reach out to their Indigenous colleagues, to share resources, to learn from each other, and to improve collective understanding of Canadian governance issues.   Some organizations have reached out and broadened their understanding of government and the civil service to incorporate Indigenous communities, although the engagement has typically been through the discussion of Indigenous issues more than active participation with Indigenous civil servants and governments.  This is, for the Canadian civil service, an early and obvious test of their openness to real reconciliation.  Treating Indigenous governments and their employees as part of the Canadian civil service community – not coopting them culturally or institutionally – but as professional colleagues whose work intersects and whose presence in the country is a force for good and effective governance.  Civil services cannot encourage reconciliation between Indigenous and other Canadians unless it takes the first step and reaches out to Indigenous governments in an effort to find and expand common ground.

Little real cross-cultural learning will take place if civil services deal with Indigenous peoples and communities as a “problem” or interact with Indigenous governments only at a conceptual and policy-level. Working at the policy level with Indigenous issues is categorically different than interacting with Indigenous colleagues, visiting their communities, and partnering on policy development.   The Canadian civil service can lead reconciliation in Canada, but it will require a commitment to learning from Indigenous Canadians and an acceptance of Indigenous governments as being integral to the governance system in Canada.

Dr. Ken Coates is the Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan and is a Munk Senior Fellow, Macdonald-Laurier Institute

Saskatoon Event Announcement: Partners in Public Service – Collaboration Across the Public Sector


The Partners in Public Service: Collaboration Across the Public Sector, promises to be  an evening of learning and connecting with colleagues across all levels and areas of the public sector. The event will feature a multi-disciplinary panel of public sector leaders discussing the importance of collaboration across jurisdictions and sectors,  and how we as a collective public service can better serve our citizens.

This evening will also provide you with an opportunity to forge new partnerships with your counterparts and to learn more about our host organizations.

Thursday, March 23, 2017
5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Delta Bessborough
601 Spandina Crescent E
Saskatoon, SK

Appetizers and a cash bar will be provided.

Please register with Katie Chesterton ( by Monday, March 20, 2017.

The following panel of esteemed leaders are confirmed to be attending this event:

Chief Lorie WhitecalfChief Lorie Whitecalf

Lorie made history when she became the first woman to be elected Chief of Sweetgrass First Nation in 2011. She is currently serving her third term of office.  Lorie is a proud mother of three children, Kylie, Whitney and Austin.  Being raised on a farm, usually considered men’s work, provided Lorie with strong work ethic and a belief system that women can do anything.  She continues to raise cattle alongside her father. Chief Whitecalf practices a traditional lifestyle of hunting and gathering. She currently sits on numerous boards:  Saskatchewan First Nations Natural Resources Centre of Excellence, FSIN Executive Council, Treaty 6 Education, Battle River Treaty 6 Health Centre, BATC Executive Council, and BATC Community Development Corporation.

Catherine GrybaCatherine Gryba

  • Worked for the City of Saskatoon for the past 32 years and is presently the General Manager, Corporate Performance Department.
  • Board Member and Past Chair of the Board, Saskatchewan Blue Cross.
  • Past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Saskatoon and Area United Way, and the Cabinet for United Way
  • Board Member for the Jeux Canada Games Foundation
  • Co-Founder and Member of Executive Women of Saskatoon – a peer mentorship group consisting of women in executive positions
  • Graduate of the University of Saskatchewan and served as an alumna committee member for a variety of CIS Championships, including hockey, basketball, volleyball and track and field, and most recently the Vice-Chair of the 100th Anniversary of Huskie Athletics.
  • Married to Shawn and have 3 children.


Rob Norrisrob-norris

After almost a decade of serving in the Saskatchewan Legislature, Rob returned to the University of Saskatchewan on 1 January 2016; he serves as the University’s Senior Strategist for Partnerships within the Office of the Vice-President Research. His core responsibilities include advising:

1) the Canadian Light Source (CLS) Synchrotron, where he is working on partnership development opportunities in the Middle East, Europe and across Canada; 2) the Vaccine Infectious Disease Organization and the International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac), where he focuses on relations with the Canadian government and partnership development in East Asia; 3) the Sylvia Fedoruk Centre for Nuclear Innovation, where he works to enhance relations with various Canadian and global partners; and 4) the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS).

Norris also works with the University’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine, the College of Agriculture and Bio-Resources as well as the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition regarding outreach and engagement; he serves as a strategic communications and community-engagement advisor to a University-led, Canadian-sponsored food and nutritional security program in Ethiopia.

Finally, as needed, he offers advice to the Vice-President Research – including as a member of the Canadian Neutron Initiative working group – and other senior administrators.

From November, 2007 – December, 2015, Norris served as the Member of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan (MLA) for the constituency of Saskatoon-Greystone. First elected in 2007 and re-elected in 2011, he served in Premier Wall’s Cabinet as: Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Labour; Minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board; Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration; Minister responsible for SaskPower; Minister responsible for Innovation, Minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Research Council as well as the Premier’s Legislative Secretary for First Nations and Metis Peoples. He was a member of Treasury Board and the Board of Directors of Saskatchewan’s Crown Investment Corporation as well as other executive bodies. Upon announcing his departure from executive government, Norris concluded his elected tenure with membership on two legislative committees: Crown and Central Agencies as well the esteemed Public Accounts Committee of the Legislature.

Known for being both collaborative and decisive, Norris had dozens of ministerial accomplishments which helped to transform Saskatchewan.

In the post-secondary sector, he oversaw record funding for advanced education and skills training initiatives, including focusing on Indigenous education and institutions and facilitating historic federal-provincial infrastructure investments across Saskatchewan; he also created, as well as implemented, Saskatchewan’s Graduate Retention Program. Regarding the promotion of university-based research, in partnership with University of Saskatchewan, he fostered the creation of the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation, supported the establishment of the Global Institute for Water Security and played a key role in negotiating the creation of the public-private Global Institute for Food Security. He also laid the foundation for Saskatchewan’s International Education Strategy. Rob also supported numerous initiatives at University of Regina and other post-secondary institutions across the province.

Regarding SaskPower, as Minister Rob guided through cabinet and launched historic investments in Canadian green energy infrastructure, including the $1.5 billion, world-first, Boundary Dam 3 carbon capture and storage project in southern Saskatchewan as well as the concomitant establishment of the $60 million public-private Shand Carbon Capture Test Facility.

Importantly, Norris also developed and enacted the Wall Government’s inaugural Immigration Strategy (June 2009) to foster provincial population growth, international student retention and foreign direct investment; the foundations of this strategy continue to foster record population growth in Saskatchewan and robust international investment across the province.

In the labour portfolio, he led the modernization of Saskatchewan’s labour law, including within the construction sector.

As Minister, Rob also represented Saskatchewan on numerous pan-Canadian / federal-provincial – territorial committees, which had functional themes ranging from Advanced Education to the Status of Women and beyond. He also led Saskatchewan delegations to other regions of Canada, Western and Central Europe, the Middle East, Southeast and South Asia and the United States. As MLA, he also participated in Commonwealth Parliamentary missions to Alberta (including the Fort McMurray Oil Sands) and Western Australia and served with the Washington-based National Democratic Institute as an election observer in Tunisia (2014) and an Institute of Public Administration Canada governance expert in Malawi (2015).

Prior to holding public office, Norris served within the University of Saskatchewan’s senior administration as Coordinator for Global Relations, 2004-2007, where he helped the University analyze, articulate and act upon its global interests, including enhancing the profile and prestige of this campus community. In 2005, he helped secure and coordinate the campus visit of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, and His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh. He joined U of S International in 1999. Rob took political leave from the University from November 2007 – January 2016.

From 1997 – 1999, Norris served as a Legislative Assistant in the Canadian House of Commons, with a focus on Canadian foreign policy. As part of his duties, he worked closely with the House of Commons Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade as well as focused on policy issues and options relating to various geopolitical regions and international organizations.

Having earning various student scholarships and bursaries, Norris graduated with an Associate Arts Diploma, Red Deer College (1990), a B.A. (Hons.) in Political Science, University of Lethbridge (1992) and a M.A. in Political Science, University of Alberta (2004).

In addition to his current University duties, Norris comments on both local and global issues. For more than a decade, his articles, essays and reviews have been published in both the popular and academic press. He also works to build youth-focused bridges between Canada and the world; as a community contribution, he serves as Board Chair for Ottawa-based, Canada World Youth.

He is married to Carol Norris, a chemist within the Canadian Food Inspection Agency; within their blended family, they have three children: Jacqueline, Emmet and Hayden

Laurie PushorLaurie Pushor

Laurie Pushor is the Deputy Minister of the Saskatchewan Ministry of the Economy. This ministry’s mission is to advance economic growth to generate wealth and opportunity in Saskatchewan. The ministry includes the government’s major economic, resource and labour market development functions.

Laurie Pushor first joined the Ministry of the Economy serving as a Senior Advisor to the Deputy Minister. Prior to joining the Ministry of the Economy, he spent four years as a Chief of Staff with the Government of Saskatchewan. He was fortunate to serve as the Chief of Staff with Minister Harpauer in Social Services, with Minister Boyd in Energy and Resources, and Minister McMorris in Health. Prior to joining the Government of Saskatchewan, Laurie was the Director of Recruitment and Admissions for the University of Saskatchewan. This role included responsibility for Canadian as well as international recruitment and international student activities.

Moderator: Kristin BruceKristin Bruce

Kristin finished an undergraduate degree at the University of Saskatchewan in 2011. Following this, she took a year off to work and travel. Upon returning to Saskatoon, she started a Masters of Public Policy degree at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School (JSGS) of Public Policy. While at JSGS she completed a thesis looking at water governance and planning for future uncertainty in Saskatchewan under the supervision of Murray Fulton and Patricia Gober. After finishing the program in 2016, Kristin accepted a position with the Strategic and Business Planning Division at the City of Saskatoon as a Performance Improvement Coordinator.

The host committee would like to thank our sponsor, MNP, for its generous support.


The Partners in Public Service Event Series is being hosted by:


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