Opening the Government of Canada: The Federal Bureaucracy in the Digital Age. UBC Press, 2019. 312 pp.

In Opening the Government of Canada Clarke takes us beyond the rhetoric of digital, and provides a compelling discussion of the need for more openness, while also balancing open with accountability, equal treatment of citizens, and public service neutrality. The book adds much to the public administration literature, but also invites scholars in information management and information systems to think about how their theories and practices can add to the discussion. Her call to invest in digital talent, literacy and infrastructure advocates for a modern interdisciplinary approach to government transformation.

Aboriginal Peoples and the Law. A Critical Introduction. Vancouver: UBC Press/Purich Books. 2018

What is Aboriginal law? What is its purpose, sources, and justifications? How is it linked to the history of Aboriginal-state relations in Canada, to the trajectory of federal and provincial Aboriginal policy making, and to Canada’s constitutional structure? These are the core questions taken up in Jim Reynolds’ Aboriginal Peoples and the Law. Reynolds provides a clear and highly readable summary, and critical analysis, of Canadian law as it pertains to Aboriginal and treaty rights, self-government, Aboriginal title, the duty to consult, and to both Indigenous and international sources of law.

Negotiating Business Narratives: Fables of the Information Technology, Automobile Manufacturing, and Financial Trading Industries, Palgrave-Pivot, p. 60

How do you know how to behave when you have to do some kind of business in a place and with people you do not know, say, a military base, a manufacturing plant, a scientific laboratory, or a technologically sophisticated start-up? You go to the only references available: books, movies, TV shows. You draw upon the residues of popular culture portrayals of the environment in question. It may not be perfect, but it is all you have.

Constructing Policy Change: Early Childhood Education and Care in Liberal Welfare States. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017. 334 pages.

In this scholarly work, White seeks to explain the reasons behind fundamental shifts occurring in early childhood education and care policy in Canada and the United States and why these two countries lag behind other advanced democracies; not just to Sweden or France, as might be expected, but kindred liberal welfare states such as Australia and the United Kingdom.

Government Digital: The Quest to Regain Public Trust. Dundurn. 2018.

While most of society is able to benefit from the technological advances associated with the information age and industrial revolutions, governments everywhere lag far behind the cutting edge. This is not simply a question of governments being slow to adopt modern technologies into their operations- although incidents like the federal Phoenix pay system fiasco demonstrate that this too continues to be a problem- but the principal issue of the age comes down to redefining the relationship between state and citizenry in light of the potential that comes with digital technologies. At the core of Newman’s work is his decision to treat P3s as examples of governance (sometimes called networked governance to avoid confusion with the use of the term simply to mean the act of governing). In a policy field characterized by governance, government is one of many partners who have a say in shaping and implementing policy. Government needs to lead the partnership, but cannot too overtly command, if networked arrangements are to succeed. Beginning from that insight, Newman chooses to evaluate two similar P3 projects. These are the transit lines connecting Vancouver, BC, and Sydney, Australia to their respective airports and nearby suburbs.  Vancouver’s Canada Line is often described as a public-policy success. The Sydney Airport Rail Link as a public-policy failure. Can governance failure in the latter case explain the difference in outcomes? Newman makes a strong case that it can.

Femocratic Administration: Gender, Governance, and Democracy in Ontario, University of Toronto Press. UTP. 2016.

What does state feminism in Canada look like and how can it help improve democracy and political representation? These are some of the questions that Tammy Findlay tackles in her thought-provoking historical examination of the Ontario Women’s Directorate in Femocratic Administration. At the core of Newman’s work is his decision to treat P3s as examples of governance (sometimes called networked governance to avoid confusion with the use of the term simply to mean the act of governing). In a policy field characterized by governance, government is one of many partners who have a say in shaping and implementing policy. Government needs to lead the partnership, but cannot too overtly command, if networked arrangements are to succeed. Beginning from that insight, Newman chooses to evaluate two similar P3 projects. These are the transit lines connecting Vancouver, BC, and Sydney, Australia to their respective airports and nearby suburbs.  Vancouver’s Canada Line is often described as a public-policy success. The Sydney Airport Rail Link as a public-policy failure. Can governance failure in the latter case explain the difference in outcomes? Newman makes a strong case that it can.

Book Review: Prime Ministerial Power in Canada: Its Origins under MacDonald, Laurier, and Borden. UBC Press. 2017.

The centralization of power thesis is one of the best- known tenets in Canadian political science. Patrice Dutil’s Prime Ministerial Power in Canada: Its Origins under MacDonald, Laurier, and Borden makes an important empirical contribution to this debate. At the core of Newman’s work is his decision to treat P3s as examples of governance (sometimes called networked governance to avoid confusion with the use of the term simply to mean the act of governing). In a policy field characterized by governance, government is one of many partners who have a say in shaping and implementing policy. Government needs to lead the partnership, but cannot too overtly command, if networked arrangements are to succeed. Beginning from that insight, Newman chooses to evaluate two similar P3 projects. These are the transit lines connecting Vancouver, BC, and Sydney, Australia to their respective airports and nearby suburbs.  Vancouver’s Canada Line is often described as a public-policy success. The Sydney Airport Rail Link as a public-policy failure. Can governance failure in the latter case explain the difference in outcomes? Newman makes a strong case that it can.

Book Review: Democratic Illusion: Deliberative Democracy in Canadian Public Policy (UTP, 2015)

Genevieve Fuji Johnson, the author of “Democratic Illusion” provides an interesting introduction to the literature of deliberative democracy and embarks upon the task of assessing if the ‘ideal of deliberative democracy’ has been achieved by analyzing four cases invoking procedures associated with deliberative democracy in Canadian public policy. In separate chapters, case studies were selected that were most likely to be successful in approximating the deliberative ideal, including the participatory budgeting (2001-12) of Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC), deliberative polls (2004,2005, 2009) of Nova Scotia Power Incorporated (NSPI), an iterative national consultation process (2002-2005; 2008-2010) of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), and embedded policy consultations (2000-2012) of the Government of Nunavut in regard to official languages. Rich detail is presented and analyzed through interpretive case studies, evaluating them using deliberative democratic criteria, including participatory inclusion, procedural equality, access to information and empowerment in policy decisions. At the core of Newman’s work is his decision to treat P3s as examples of governance (sometimes called networked governance to avoid confusion with the use of the term simply to mean the act of governing). In a policy field characterized by governance, government is one of many partners who have a say in shaping and implementing policy. Government needs to lead the partnership, but cannot too overtly command, if networked arrangements are to succeed. Beginning from that insight, Newman chooses to evaluate two similar P3 projects. These are the transit lines connecting Vancouver, BC, and Sydney, Australia to their respective airports and nearby suburbs.  Vancouver’s Canada Line is often described as a public-policy success. The Sydney Airport Rail Link as a public-policy failure. Can governance failure in the latter case explain the difference in outcomes? Newman makes a strong case that it can.

At the Centre of Government: The Prime Minister and the Limits on Political Power. McGill-Queens University Press, 2018. 205pp, with index.

Ian Brodie is in an exceptionally rare position to offer thoughts on the burning issue of prime ministerial power. After earning a Ph.D. in political science at the University of Calgary, where he met individuals who would later shape his career, he taught at Western University and published Friends of the Court: The Privileging of Interest Group Litigants in Canada (2002). Brodie was very active in conservative political circles, both in Calgary and in London, Ontario, and rose to become Chief of Staff to Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper. When the Conservatives were asked to form a minority government in 2006, he became the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister and would serve as such for 2.5 years, until June 2008. Based on what he experienced, he tests in this book the prevailing notion that governmental power has become too concentrated in the hands of the prime minister. It is an argument he rejects, taking particular aim at Donald Savoie’s Governing from the Centre (1999) and Democratizing the Constitution: Reforming Responsible Government (2011) by Peter Aucoin, Mark Jarvis and Lori Turnbull.