All posts by impactsk

John Tait Award of Excellence – Doug Moen’s Remarks

The following remarks were made on 19 August 2013 by Doug Moen, Q.C., Deputy Minister to the Premier of Saskatchewan, on the occasion of the presentation to him of the John Tait Award of Excellence at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Bar Association.  

The John Tait Award of Excellence is presented to a public sector lawyer who has achieved the highest standards of professional conduct and competence and made significant contributions to social justice or community affairs, and who exemplifies preeminent public service.  Mr. Moen was also the 2010 recipient of the IPAC Lieutenant Governor’s Gold Medal Award recognizing distinctive leadership and exceptional achievement in public administration in Saskatchewan.

ImPACt is pleased to publish these reflections of a distinguished Saskatchewan public servant on career and on the role and contribution of lawyers in the public service.

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The Cost of Policing – A Look at the Numbers

by Neil Robertson, Q.C. who has worked in the field of local government for over thirty years in the provincial, municipal and police sectors and is currently employed as Legal Counsel to the Regina Police Service

There has been much discussion about the cost of policing in recent years.  One of the underlying premises seems to be that Canadians pay too much for their police.  This premise is reflected in some of the language used around “sustainability” and gaining “control” over these costs, in particular police remuneration.  Statistics are quoted that do show an increase in costs of policing.  But do the numbers actually support assertions that there are too many police officers or that policing costs are “unsustainable” or “out of control”?

Statistics Canada has been recording and producing credible data on policing for over fifty years, some of which is produced in an annual report titled Police Resources in Canada.  This article will refer to data from that report and other credible sources to suggest that these assertions are misinformed or exaggerated. It will also try to provide some context to the debate with reference to Canada’s wealth and tax revenues and the influence of ideology.

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Assessing the Targets in the Saskatchewan Government’s Growth Plan

by Doug Elliot, publisher, Sask Trends Monitor and policy fellow, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy

In October 2012, the Saskatchewan government released a strategic plan for the medium term future, namely to the year 2020, called the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth. Many strategic plans, particularly the ones from governments, are full of lofty and motivational rhetoric but this one is different because it has quantifiable targets (along with lofty and motivational rhetoric).  It is good public policy to set out a long-term vision, describe the means to get there, provide a way to measure progress, and be accountable; the provincial government should be commended for having the courage to attach precise figures to the growth plan. This article looks at some of the more interesting targets among the twenty or so in the document.

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Campaign Financing in America

by Colin Robertson, Senior Strategic Advisor for McKenna, Long and Aldridge LLP  

“A republic if you can keep it” Benjamin Franklin famously told Mrs. Proust at the end of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia.

The Republic has endured but some repair is necessary around money politics and within the Republican party to sustain public faith in the system.

Estimated to cost over six billion dollars, the 2012 campaign will go down as the most expensive US election to date. By contrast, the 2011 Canadian election cost $330 million.

With elections every two years, the average member of Congress must raise at least $5,000 a week in order to have a sufficient war-chest for their re-election. Campaign fundraising is a daily activity.

A 2010 Supreme Court decision, Citizens United, loosened campaign financing rules to give corporations commensurate status with individual citizens. Americans are nothing if not creative and the result, if you live in a swing state, is a constant stream of political advertising, most of it negative.

Women as Policy Makers: Local Initiative Mirrors Global Challenge

by Eric Greenway, Managing Director of Advancement at the YWCA Regina  

On March 22, 2012, sixteen women gathered in the living room of a Regina home to wrestle with how to increase the representation of women in political office, with a focus on the October Regina municipal election. The group included a current MLA; leaders from business, education, labour and the arts; former and potential political candidates; and YWCA staff and volunteers.

The conversation was lively, non-partisan, and pragmatic. The moderator pointed out that advancing the leadership of women and girls has been a core concern of the global YWCA movement over its 150-year history. As well as curbing the voices and concerns of women, the under-representation of women in government sends a powerful implied message to youth that men are more suited to leadership. In contrast, when women are empowered as decision-makers, they influence public policy in positive ways.

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Renegotiating Municipal Funding: The Case of Saskatchewan

by Laurent Mougeot, CEO of the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA)

It all changed in the fall of 2006. For more than 15 years, municipal elected officials had to mortgage their capital investments and infrastructure reserves in order to fund their ongoing operational needs. Aggressive budget cuts by the federal and provincial governments had virtually eliminated most of the government’s grant and revenue sharing programs. This resulted, from 1991-92 to 2006-07, in an estimated shortfall of approximately $600 million in funding to Saskatchewan local government operations.

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What Gary Dickson Believes Open Government could mean for Saskatchewan Residents

In just a few short years, the Open Government movement has gained considerable traction in Canada.  Some of our largest cities including Toronto[1], Edmonton, Vancouver and Ottawa as well as smaller centres such as Nanaimo have announced Open Government initiatives.  British Columbia Premier Christy Clark has declared that ‘open government’ is one of her top three policy initiatives for that province[2].  In March 2011, then Treasury Board President Stockwell Day announced the launch of the federal Government’s Open Data portal[3].  This was described as but one element of a more ambitious Open Government initiative.

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Public Policy Book Club – How Ottawa Spends, 2011-2012

The Pubic Policy Book Club meets four to six times per year to discuss and debate books about issues and trends in public policy. Based in Regina, it is comprised of senior and mid-level public servants from the federal, provincial, and municipal governments and related organizations, employees of Crown corporations, as well as academics from the University of Regina’s Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.

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Interview with Graham Smith, Deputy Commissioner and Director of Freedom of Information for the UK

In May, Duane Mombourquette, IPAC Saskatchewan Board Member and Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Access & Privacy Branch, had the opportunity to correspond with Graham Smith about his role as the Deputy Commissioner and Director of Freedom Information on a wide range of issues relating to Freedom of Information legislation.

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