Category Archives: Commentary

Book Review – Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing my People (and Yours)

Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing my People (and Yours) by Harold R. Johnson

University of Regina Press, 2016

Firewater CoverOver the last several years, the University of Regina Press has published a number of books dealing with the history of and current challenges facing Indigenous Peoples. From Clearing the Plains to The Education of Augie Merasty to Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing my People (and Yours), U of R Press has brought forth three national bestsellers that present stories of both abject horror and ultimate hope for the future. In honour of 2017: IPAC’s National Year of Dialogue, we are presenting reviews of these important works.

Released in 2016, Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing my People (and Yours) is Harold Johnson’s testimony to a problem he passionately and in a deeply personal way argues has taken and is taking a devastating toll on the lives and communities of Indigenous Peoples across Canada. Johnson writes from the perspective of a Cree Crown Prosecutor working in Northern Saskatchewan with direct experience of the problem. The book is a direct and clearly heartfelt plea for Indigenous People (and indeed all Canadians) to take a deep and serious look at the role of alcohol in their lives. The book also asks for a re-examination and re-definition of the stories that have been told (and are being told) that continue to create beliefs that no longer serve a healthy purpose in the lives of Indigenous Peoples.

“This small book is a conversation between myself and my relatives, the Woodland Cree.  Its purpose is to begin a discussion about the harmful impacts of alcohol consumption and to address the extreme death rate directly connected to the use of alcohol in our Northern Saskatchewan communities.”

Harold R. Johnson

I must state for the record that I am not an Indigenous Person; indeed, I am kiciwamanawak. This is the first book in which I have encountered this Cree term for Non-Indigenous People. Firewater is full of Cree vocabulary like this along with traditional narratives that Harold Johnson utilizes to illustrate how powerful stories can be in defining both a people and an individual. This use of Cree terminology and traditional stories is a key element of Firewater that made the book such a powerful read for me.

As I was reading, it was never far from my consciousness that I was consuming this book as kiciwamanawak and that I would have to take great care to try and suspend some of the ingrained stories that I hold dear that have shaped my own beliefs and with which I live my life. In the end, I discovered some new facts not only about an important issue for the future of Saskatchewan but also something about myself – something about stories and the power they have over our destinies. Although I am kiciwamanawak, the book became deeply personal to me in a way that I could not have imagined when I first picked it up. Indeed, I have read and internalized Harold Johnson’s words and I believe that they are tremendously helpful. I hope to use them in a good way.

“I speak, however, only to my people, the Woodland Cree.  I have no right to speak to anyone else.  But if you hear my words and if these words help you, then take them and use them in a good way.  If you cannot use them in a good way, then leave them here.”

Harold R. Johnson

I could go on and restate the facts outlined in the book (as many other reviewers have) regarding how alcohol and its use is causing dire problems in the lives of Indigenous (and also Non-Indigenous) Peoples across Saskatchewan and Canada. I could quote the statistics regarding accidents, violence, and death that Harold Johnson provides. But those cold, hard facts are only the foundation of the book and a way to scope and size the problem. What I think is much more important about Firewater is the argument that weaves its way throughout that stories and the way that they have been adopted and have formed a set of beliefs about alcohol is the core problem that needs to be addressed. Johnson presents the case that these stories and the beliefs that they perpetuate are the real root of the problem and that Indigenous Peoples need to take back control of their stories in order to find a better, healthier way forward. This strikes me as a very compelling argument for all people whose lives are being negatively impacted by alcohol (or any other negative influence for that matter). We all need to become mindful of and take back control of the stories that we believe and hold dear.

“We can live any story that we want.  We can live a romance, or a tragedy, or a comedy, or a mystery, or a fantasy, or a fable, or a fairytale.  We can decide which story we want to be in and tell it to ourselves.  The only limit on our ability to choose our own story is the story into which we are born.  We have all been raised in a particular story.  When we recognize it as story, it loses its power.  This is especially true of victim stories.  All of what we refer to as ‘society’ is the story that we tell ourselves about ourselves.”

Harold R. Johnson

There is a message here for all people – what stories are we living out in our lives? Do they serve a healthy and uplifting purpose? Even if we believe that we are living out healthy stories, are we actually living consistently with them? For example, Harold Johnson cites the behaviour of legal teams that fly into Northern Saskatchewan to deal with alcohol-related problems, subsequently putting people in jail, and then getting back on a plane loaded with booze for their trip back home. As a result, there is also a message here for all kiciwamanawak public servants who are tasked with attempting to deal with and help contribute solutions to the problems that are facing Indigenous Peoples – deeply consider the stories that we are living by and whether or not they are also part of the problem.

Book review by Christopher Malnyk, IPAC Saskatchewan Communications Chair.


The following is an interview with Harold R. Johnson on his book Firewater from CBC Radio’s “The Next Chapter”:




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

2017: IPAC’s National Year of Dialogue Interview with Dr. Marie Delorme


Dr. Marie Delorme

This week, ImPACt SK talks to Dr. Marie Delorme about her perspective on IPAC’s National Year of Dialogue.  Dr. Delorme is CEO of The Imagination Group of Companies. She serves on the RCMP Foundation Board, River Cree Enterprises Board, the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board, the Alberta Premier’s Advisory Committee on the Economy, and The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking. She is also an advisor to two Universities.

She has received the Indspire Award in Business and Commerce; and was named as one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women. Dr. Delorme has also received the University of Calgary Dr. Douglas Cardinal Award; Alberta Chamber of Commerce Business Award of Distinction; Calgary Chamber of Commerce Salute to Excellence Award, and Métis Nation Entrepreneurial Leadership Award.

Dr. Delorme holds a Bachelor of Science degree, a Master of Business Administration from Queen’s University, and PhD from the University of Calgary.  Her research focuses on inter-cultural leadership.

ImPACt SK:  Dr. Delorme, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us about your perspective on and your experiences with the call for Reconciliation and Dialogue within Canadian society.  To start off, can you tell us a little about yourself and how the legacy of Residential Schools in Canada has impacted your life?

Dr. Delorme: The dark legacy of the residential schools has far reaching impacts on all Canadians, as the objectives of this ill-conceived system were to dismantle families and assimilate Indigenous people into the dominant culture. When families and social systems are disrupted; when political and faith-based laws and policies encourage racism and isolation, every member of society is touched in some way. As a young person, I was aware that society did not readily accept Indigenous people. Being the child of a white mother and Métis father; and thus belonging to a group that did not fit with either culture, brings unique challenges relating to identity and self-esteem.

ImPACt SK:  As you know, IPAC has deemed 2017 to be the National Year of Dialogue for Renewing Relationships with Indigenous People.  With respect to public service professionals (whom IPAC represents), one of the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was to “…call upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to provide education to public servants on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal-Crown relations.  This will require skills-based training and intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.”  In your consulting practice, you’ve worked with many different public sector institutions.  Why do you think that it is vital to successfully address this particular Call to Action?

Dr. Delorme: Although UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) and TRC have been extensively covered by media, as was the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples Report published in 1996, there is a general lack of awareness amongst most Canadians. We live in an era of news sound bites and messaging in 140 characters. Unfortunately, this leaves little room for the important in-depth conversations necessary to fully understand the history of Indigenous peoples. It is important for those in public service to understand how the past impacts the present and to develop cultural competencies. Educating public servants is one step in developing respectful government-to-government partnerships and ensuring that culturally relevant and respectful policies and programs redress the legacy of residential schools and make a real difference in the lives of Indigenous people.

ImPACT SK: Are there any examples of reconciliation and good relationships that you have seen that can serve as lessons for all of us working in the public service?  What are those lessons?

Dr. Delorme: Federal and provincial governments have entered into agreements and memorandums of understanding with Indigenous governments. Those relationships that focus on education are particularly important to ensure that Indigenous children receive the same opportunities as all children and have access to the same kinds of supports as all Canadian youth. There are some great examples across the country where communities have taken control of their education system. When history, language, and culture informs curriculum, children develop a solid foundation for learning. Corporate Canada and NGOs are discussing the TRC Calls to Action. Partnerships for economic and community development exist in great numbers across the country; these partnerships flourish when the relationship is mutually beneficial in every sense.

ImPACt SK: In terms of building new relationships, what do you think is required of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous public service professionals for them to be supportive of each other in the spirit of Reconciliation? What will it take to get there?

Dr. Delorme: It took generations to get where we are today; hopefully the process of reconciling does not take generations. The formula is simplistic but the process is complex. The new relationship must be based on first acknowledging the past and the inter-generational impacts of over 100 years of ill-conceived policies, laws, and social experiments. Apologies have been made and some reparation established. But the real work is just beginning in recognizing Indigenous constitutional, legal, and human rights; and to engage in mutually respectful and cooperative partnerships.

ImPACt SK: In your experience, what are the opportunities or the barriers to building new relationships? How will we know when we are on the right track in building these positive relationships and when we are not?

Dr. Delorme: We will know that progress is being made when the most critical issues facing many Indigenous people are addressed. These include low levels of high school and post-secondary completion; inadequate housing and crowded living conditions; lower income levels; health indicators that are lower that national averages; and high youth suicide rates.

ImPACt SK: How do you think that these new relationships can lead to positive collaboration and partnerships?

Dr. Delorme: See above

ImPACt SK: You have worked in both large organizations and small ones and have consulted in both the private and public sectors.  Do you see any particular type of organization or sector as having made significant progress with respect to Reconciliation and new relationships?

Dr. Delorme: Generally, the organizations that are engaging with Indigenous communities are those who have regional economic or political interests. It is not surprising that the resource, financial, and utility sectors have mandates, policies, and processes relating to engaging with Indigenous people. Supreme Court and lower court decisions dating back almost 2 decades have focused on the duty to consult. That duty is triggered if there is a chance that there may be an adverse impact on a community’s rights and traditional uses. It is not surprising then that almost every project impacting the land, air, and water affects the interest of at least one Indigenous community.

ImPACt SK:  What do you think First Nation, Metis and Inuit governments need and expect from new relationships in order to help them grow and achieve excellence in the delivery of programs and services to their citizens / members?

Dr. Delorme: Indigenous people in Canada are not a homogeneous group. Hundreds of distinct cultures, languages, ways of knowing and being mean that the relationship is built with each group in a way that respects their unique protocols and practices. However, some fundamental ideologies for those relationships include core principles of respect, equality, and the preservation of Indigenous languages and culture. Foundational to this process are renewed nation-to-nation relationships between federal, provincial, and Indigenous governments.

ImPACt SK: To what extent are you hopeful that Reconciliation and Dialogue will lead to a better future in Canada?  What makes you feel this way?

Dr. Delorme: Hope for the future lies in lessons from the past. Against all odds Indigenous people have survived. This speaks to great resilience in the face of unimaginable suffering. I see a future where survival is replaced by thriving. Where racism is replaced not by tolerance but by embracing and celebrating diversity. Where language and culture inform the fundamental identity of our young people. Today, despite the social and economic disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in our country, there is another story that is rarely told. Over 30,000 of our people are in post-secondary institutions; over 40,000 are entrepreneurs; we are academics, scientists, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and business people. This is the future I envision. This is reconciliation.

ImPACT SK: Dr. Delorme, thank you once again for taking time to talk to us here at ImPACT SK.  We greatly appreciate you sharing your experiences and thoughts with us as we move forward into this new era of Reconciliation and Dialogue.

Post-Secondary Education in Canada: A Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

On December 12, 2016, Vianne Timmons (President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina and Peter Stoicheff (President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan) published a policy brief titled “Post-Secondary Education in Canada: A Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada” through the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.

The brief outlines what universities across Canada (in particular the universities of Regina and Saskatchewan) are doing to address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action dealing with post-secondary issues facing Aboriginal people:

  • “We call upon the federal government to develop with Aboriginal groups a joint strategy to eliminate educational and employment gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.”
  • “We call upon the federal government to eliminate the discrepancy in federal education funding for First Nations children being educated on reserves and those First Nations children being educated off reserves.”
  • “Provide the necessary funding to post-secondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms.”
  • “We call upon the federal government, through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, post-secondary institutions and educators, and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and its partner institutions, to establish a national research program with multi-year funding to advance understanding of reconciliation.”


On June 2, 2015, Justice Murray Sinclair released the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) 94 Calls to Action.  It was a landmark moment in truth telling and reconciliation between Aboriginal1 and non-Aboriginal people in our country, and one at which many Canadians joined those who had already been mobilized around supporting Aboriginal peoples in Canada.   

Many universities responded to the Calls to Action by making public statements and looking inward at their institutions.  This introspection was necessary and needs to continue. But most importantly, there needs to be action taken on multiple fronts in universities across Canada.

Simply put, one cannot dispute the post-secondary educational gap that exists between non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal youth – a gap that has been caused in many cases by funding deficiencies as well as deeply rooted social and economic issues within Aboriginal communities resulting from Canada’s treatment of Aboriginal people over the past 150 years.  According to the 2006 Census, a significant difference in university completion rates was noted between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal adults.  This had not changed much by the 2011 Census. It reported less than half (48%) of Aboriginal people aged 25 to 64 had a post-secondary qualification. By comparison, about two thirds (65%) of non-Aboriginal people in the same age group had a postsecondary qualification, a difference of 17 percentage points. The policy issue is how universities in Canada can become part of the solution that addresses the deeply rooted social and economic challenges faced by many Aboriginal people.

— Introduction to “Post-Secondary Education in Canada: A Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada”


Follow-up Lecture on the 2016 US Election

JSGS Roundtable: After the Political Storm: Assessing the Effects of the 2016 US Elections

On November 9, 2016 the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy held a roundtable discussion on the results of the 2016 US election.  This discussion is interesting for anyone wanting insights into what may have contributed to the election results and what the future may hold with respect to President-elect Trump’s Administration.

This JSGS Roundtable was moderated by Dr. Murray Fulton and features:

  • Dr. Daniel Béland – Professor and Canada Research Chair in Public Policy, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, and Associate Member, Department of Sociology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Professor Cheryl Camillo – Assistant Professor, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Regina
  • Dr. John. C. Courtney – Senior Policy Fellow, Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University Saskatchewan; Professor Emeritus, College of Arts and Science, Department of Political Studies
  • Dale Eisler – Senior Policy Fellow, Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy; Editor, JSGS Policy Brief

Challenging Myths Around Technological Innovation

Spark with Nora Young presented an interesting discussion with Patrick McCray on myths that have built up over time around the narrative of how innovation happens.  McCray argues that innovation is not always what we have been led to believe it is.

McCray wrote a longer essay on the topic which is also a fascinating read in addition to his interview on Spark.

McCray argues that “…it’s essential to understand how science and technology advances actually happen and affect the world. Because of their importance, it’s essential to reflect more critically on our collective myths about innovation.” 

A clearer understanding of what innovation is, how it is usually much more ordinary than the popular media and stories would have us believe, and how it should (and often should not) be harnessed is important for everyone facing decisions regarding the implementation of new technologies.

“The history of technological change is full of examples of roads not taken. There are many examples of seemingly illogical choices made by firms and individuals. This shouldn’t surprise us – technological change has always been a deep and multilayered process, one that unfolds in fits and starts and unevenly in time and space. It’s not like the ‘just so stories’ of pop history and Silicon Valley public relations departments.” — Patrick McCray

The Stupidity Paradox

thestupidityparadox_thepowerandpitfallsoffunctionalstupidityatworkToday on Spark with Nora Young there was an interesting conversation regarding a new book called “The Stupidity Paradox: The Power and Pitfalls of Functional Stupidity at Work” by Andre Spicer, a professor of organizational behaviour at the Cass School of Business at City University of London.  The conversation with Dr. Spicer was part of Spark’s focus on innovation in the workplace.

Spicer sums up the paradox as follows: “Functional Stupidity [in organisations] is smart people sitting around doing stupid things”.

Does this definition resonate at all?  This is certainly something that public administrators should be focusing on to make sure that “functional stupidity” is not a problem in their organizations.

This could be a potentially good book for an upcoming session of Regina’s Public Policy Book Club.

Listen to Spark

Lecture on the 2016 US Election

The 2016 American Election: Is this any way for a democracy to choose a leader?

For anyone at all perplexed by the current US election, the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy recorded and released the following lecture from late September.  Dr. Paul Finkelman outlines how the US electoral system works and the implications of this on the current election.

IPAC Sask Speed Networking Event

networking-image_editedOn Tuesday, September 27th, IPAC Saskatchewan will be hosting its inaugural “Speed Networking” event.  The event will be attended by numerous senior-level public administrators from the Provincial Government and the City of Regina.  Ministries and Agencies including Corrections & Policing, Public Service Commission, Justice & Attorney General, Social Services, Government Relations, Finance, Economy, and Environment will be represented.  Tanessa Boutin (one of the event organizers) from the Public Service Commission states, “We wanted to put together an event that would provide a new and different opportunity to expose both senior public servants and new and upcoming professionals to each other.  Speed networking is an alternative, and hopefully more relaxed, way of doing this where we will get everyone interacting.”

Speed networking is a derivative of “speed dating” and is essentially a meeting format designed to accelerate business contacts.  The practice involves multiple people gathering in a single space to exchange information. Participants greet each other in a series of brief exchanges during set periods of time. During an interaction, attendees share their professional backgrounds and goals. Networkers are generally seeking exposure to professionals and contacts that they may normally not have opportunities to interact with outside of a structured environment.

speed-networking-3_editedFor attendees there are both benefits and risks.  The benefits range from the ability to meet more people in a given amount of time than would typically be possible to eliminating awkward conversation exits as there is never a need to bow out of a conversation gracefully.  The risks typically involve attendees trying to speed-track longer-term relationships and focusing on quantity over quality.  It is absolutely necessary for participants to follow-up with each other subsequent to the event if they truly want to establish a relationship.

At speed networking events it is important to note that established principles of good networking apply.  For example, an attitude of giving and not pushing business cards or marketing materials at people is still appropriate.

For those planning on attending the event on September 27th, participants will be split up into both Mentors and Mentees.  The session will be organized as follows:

  • Find a seat with a label matching your colour and title
  • Clock starts at 5:45pm and the formal networking will run for 1 hour
  • Mentees move chairs, mentors will stay seated
  • All networking will be face-to-face, one-on-one
  • Mentors and Mentees will have 4 minutes with each other
  • Movement will be prompted by the host
  • The 4 minutes will begin as soon as Mentees are seated subsequent to moving from their last networking conversation
  • Questions will be provided on a screen and paper on the tables to assist in prompting discussion.

This format will provide a unique structure within which all attendees will get some time with each other to exchange information about themselves along with some of the knowledge that Mentees have developed throughout their years of work in public administration.  Ultimately, the session is designed to help all of those attending to reach greater potential as public servants through the exchange of knowledge.


The event is being held at Crave Kitchen & Wine Bar, 1925 Victoria Avenue in Regina from 5:30pm – 7:30pm.

IPAC members attend for free.  There is a $10 fee for any non-members.

If you have not registered yet and are interested in attending, please contact Tanessa Boutin at:

IPAC Sask’s 2016 Lieutenant Governor’s Gold Medal Award


Congratulations once again to Chief Clive Weighill of the Saskatoon Police Service who was honoured on September 20th at Government House in Regina with the Lieutenant Governor’s Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Public Administration.


Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield and Saskatoon Police Chief Clive Weighill

Chief Weighill’s Citation:

Clive Weighill has served as a police officer in Saskatchewan for over 40 years. During his time with the Regina Police Service he worked in many areas, and during 10 years as Deputy Chief, he was part of a leadership team that provided effective and progressive policing to the City of Regina. He became Chief of Police in Saskatoon in 2006. Under his leadership, Saskatoon recorded a 29% decrease in the total crime rate between 2007 and 2012, and a further 6% decrease from 2012 to 2013. Chief Weighill was instrumental in the development of a state of the art police station, which was opened in 2014.

Chief Weighill has been an active member of the Saskatchewan, Canadian, and International Associations of Chiefs of Police, and in 2014, he was elected President of the Canadian Association. He has a long-standing involvement in police information and intelligence, serving in leadership positions both provincially and nationally. He was Chair of the Canadian Intelligence Service Saskatchewan and Co-Chair of the National Police Information Services Advisory Board. He chaired the Business Requirements Sub-Committee, which developed the business requirements for the 134-million-dollar modernization of the Canadian Police Information Centre (known as CPIC), on which all police agencies rely for accurate and timely information.

Chief Weighill has lectured across Canada at community, professional, and academic meetings, and has appeared before Parliamentary Committees on policing issues. In 2013, he was selected to participate in a police delegation to Afghanistan and Israel.

Chief Weighill would merit consideration for this Award on the basis of all of the achievements and contributions I have just detailed, but, even more impressive is his record in transforming the Saskatoon Police Service. At the time of his appointment as Chief in 2006, two previous Chiefs had been dismissed by the Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners, and the Service faced allegations of police misconduct, some of which resulted in public discipline proceedings.

There was both internal discord and loss of trust from the community. Immediately upon his appointment, Chief Weighill took steps to restore public confidence in the Service and to raise internal morale. While acknowledging the challenges, he was careful not to criticize his predecessors, taking every opportunity to provide them with credit for a foundation on which he would build.

Chief Weighill’s leadership restored public confidence, and his open and honest manner gained the respect of his colleagues and subordinates. During his tenure, the Police Service underwent a remarkable transformation from a demoralized organization to one with high morale, despite the inherent stresses of police work.

Chief Weighill’s exemplary public service has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Police Exemplary Service Medal and Bar, the Saskatchewan Protective Services Medal, the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and he is one of only a handful of serving police officers in Canada to hold the Commander of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces.

Other award recipients included:

Promising New Professional Award in Public Administration – John Bird

IPAC Doug Stevens Public Policy Graduate Student Scholarship – Moses Gordon

IPAC Academic Award – Julia Rudzitis and Troy Julé.

John Bird with IPAC Saskatchewan’s Fabian Contreras
Julia Rudzitis, Moses Gordon, Troy Julé, and Fabian Contreras