Poli 600 course outline winter 2015: Public Policy and the Governmental Process in Canada

Poli 600 winter 2015
Professor Harold Chorney

Policy and the Governmental Process in Canada

We will be exploring in a series of seminars led by class members as well as myself the process by which policy is developed and implemented in Canada, principally at the Federal level but also provincially and municipally. We shall also focus on the role of the PMO, the privy council, the Dept. of finance and the Bank of Canada and the policy shaping institiutions of the private financial community, the commercial banks and trade unions and community groups and think tanks and media. Here we will be guided by the excellent work of the Acadian political scientist , author of Governing from the Centre ,Donald Savoie. Savoie argues quite persuasively that there has been over the past decades an enormous concentration of power at the prime ministerial centre of federal power. It is also clear that parallel developments have likely occurred at the provincial level when comparing the powers at the disposition of a provincial premier. In addition to Savoie we will draw upon Michel Howlett, Xun Wu, M.Ramesh and Scott Fritzen’s work, The Public Policy Primer:Managing the Policy Process. The economic circumstances that followed the crash and prolonged slow recovery from it has also placed special strains on the financing of policy initiatives. We will also explore this in the context of Keynesian approaches versus monetarist ones. Here papers and posts on my web site haroldchorneyeconomist.com , some selected Keynesian literature including a work on macro-economics and policy edited by Mario Seccareccia and Hassan Bougrine, Introducing Macroeconomic Analysis:Issues Question and competing Views will be helpful.

Donald Savoie, Governing From the Centre:The Concentration of Power in Canadian Politics, University of Toronto press, 1999.
M.Seccareccia & Hassan Bougrine, Macroeconomic Analysis:Issues, questions and competing ViewsEdmond Montgomery, 2010.
Michael Howlett, Xun Wu, M.Ramesh and Scott Fritzen , The Public Policy Primer:Managing the Policy ProcessRoutledge, 2010.

Grades: The grade will be based on the following components: Preparation and presentation of a seminar topic in class 20 % Each presenter will also provide the class and myself with a 4-5 page synopsis of the presentation including a short bibliography.
A term essay due in class the first week in March immediately following the break. The essay should be focused on a particular area of policy and policy making , carefully researched and with an extensive bibliography, 20-25 pp. in length. 30 %
Class participation 10 % Final exam 40 %


1. Introduction and overview, assignment of seminar presentations.

2. Globalization, Markets and Government.

Readings:Seccareccia+Bougrine, ch. 1, The Market system and the Public Sector:What Role for the State ? ;85 Adam Harmes, The Return of the State:protestors, power brokers and the New global Compromise, pp.1-85; Harold Chorney, Rediscovering Keynes and the Origins of Quantitative Easing; Michael Howlett et al, introduction. Donald Savoie , pp.1-45. Ha-Joon Chang, Bad Samaritans:The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret history of Capitalism.

3. Policy Making, power and democracy:Readings, Grace Skogstad, Who governs? Who should Govern? Political Authority and Legitimacy in Canada in the Twenty-first Century Canadian Journal of Political Science.36:5(2003), 955-973 EJ via Clues. Harmes, pp.53-85. Harold Chorney and Phil Hansen , Toward a Humanist Political Economy, pp.40-100. Savoie, pp.1-108.4.

4. The Political Executive, Prime Minister and the Cabinet Savoie; Jonathon Malloy, The Executive and Parliament in Canada The Journal of Legislative Studies 10:2(2004) 206-217

5. The role of central agencies, the Department of Finance, Treasury Board and the PMO. Savoie. Robert Bryce, Maturing in Hard Times; Savoie, pp 156-192.

6. Economic policy after the crash Readings Harold Chorney , The Deficit Hysteria and the Current Crisis; The Power of Reason and the Legacy of Keynes in Toward a Humanist Political Economy pp.102-134;Alan Blinder, After the Music Stopped:the Financial Crisis, the Response and the work Ahead; Joseph Stiglitz, The Price of Inequality; Free Fall; Paul Krugman, End this Depression Now; Harold Chorney website , Revisiting deficit hysteria Labour Le Travail, 2004.

7. The Bank of Canada, monetary, exchange rate and trade policy. Seccareccia & Bougrine, pp 33-49, 149-239., pp.243- 340. Michael Hart, A Trading Nation:Canadian Trade Policy from Colonization to Globalization

8. Natural resources and environmental policy, Herman Daly, The Economics of sustainable development; Centre for the Advancement of the steady state Economy; E.J. Mishan, The Costs of Economic Growth; http://www.technologyreview.com/news/533981/low-oil-prices-mean-keystone-pipeline-makes-no-sense/ MIT Technology Review.

9. Health care policy and Federal transfers. Colleen Fuller, Caring for Profit.

10. Foreign policy and defense. Andrew Cohen, While Canada Slept.How We lost our Place in the World, Mclleland&Stewart, Lloyd Axworthy, Navigating a New World.

11. Immigration and Demographic policy readings t.b.a.

12. Social policy and the problem of poverty and inequality. Thomas Piketty, Capital in the twenty-first century. Seccareccia&Bougrine, pp.329-358.

13. Urban policy making:Managing Canadian metropolises.Intergovernmental relations. Readings: Alan Cairns,The governments and societies of Canadian Federalism, Canadian Journal of Political science 4(1977), 695-725 (EJ) ; David Cameron& Richard Simeon, intergovernmental Relations in Canada:The emergence of collaborative Federalism, Publius, The journal of Federalism 32(2002),49-71. (EJ) and further reading tba.


About haroldchorneyeconomist

I am Professor of political economy at Concordia university in Montréal, Québec, Canada. I received my B.A.Hons (econ.&poli sci) from the University of Manitoba. I also completed my M.A. degree in economics there. Went on to spend two years at the London School of Economics as a Ph.D. student in economics and then completed my Ph.D. in political economy at the University of Toronto. Was named a John W.Dafoe fellow, a CMHC fellow and a Canada Council fellow. I also was named a Woodrow Wilson fellow in 1968 after completing my first class honours undergraduate degree. Worked as an economist in the area of education, labour economics and as the senior economist with the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation for the Government of Manitoba from 1972 to 1978. I also have worked as an economic consultant for MDT socio-economic consultants and have been consulted on urban planning, health policy, linguistic duality and public sector finance questions by the governments of Manitoba, Saskatchewan,the cities of Regina and Saskatoon, Ontario and the Federal government of Canada. I have also been consulted by senior leaders of the British Labour party, MPs from the Progressive Conservative party, the Liberal party and the New Democrats on economic policy questions. Members of the Government of France under the Presidency of Francois Mitterand discussed my work on public sector deficits. I have also run for elected office at the municipal level. I first began to write about quantitative easing as a useful policy option during the early 1980s.
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