Public Policy in Crisis?


MISC 2009 conference to tackle policy-making in Canada

Do big crises generate good or bad policy? Do they allow government to act more efficiently, or simply react with little time for analysis or reflection? Where do innovative public policy ideas come from? Does evidence matter? Do media and public opinion?

On March 26 and 27, The McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC) will present its 2009 conference, Public Policy in Crisis? Understanding Policy-Making in Canada, at McGill University's Faculty Club (3450 McTavish Street).

Practitioners and academics will come together to address issues central to current policy debates: how policy-making decisions are made in a time of crisis, the influence of public opinion and mass media on the policy-making process, the role of evidence based research, and the influence of non-governmental actors. It promises to be a dynamic exchange of ideas and opinions that will yield new perspectives on the processes and players that shape public policy in Canada, and, as a consequence, impact the lives of its citizens.

"The ongoing financial crisis has prompted national governments around the world to cobble together sweeping economic policies in very little time," said Antonia Maioni, Director of MISC and conference chair. "Does this type of urgency bring out the best or the worst of the policy-making process? It leaves hardly any time for consultation, but how much input is actually sought under more usual circumstances, and from what sources? These are some of the issues Public Policy in Crisis? will address, and some of the questions we hope to answer."

The conference is presented in partnership with the McGill-Max Bell Innovation and Implementation in Public Policy research project.

Confirmed participants include:

The Rt. Hon. Joe Clark, former prime minister of Canada.

Philippe Couillard, former Minister of Health, Government of Québec; Senior Fellow in Health Law, McGill Research Group on Health and Law.

Kevin Lynch, Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet.

Nik Nanos, President and CEO, Nanos Research.

Ian Brodie, former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper; Visiting Scholar, McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.

Sandra Buckler, consultant; former Director of Communications for the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada.

Mel Cappe, President, Institute for Research on Public Policy; former Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet.

Sharon Manson Singer, President, Canadian Policy Research Networks.

Alain Dubuc, journalist, La Presse.

Pearl Eliadis, human rights lawyer.

Matthew Mendelsohn, former Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Deputy Minister for Democratic Renewal, Government of Ontario.

Peter H. Russell, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto.

Bruce Doern, Distinguished Research Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University.

Leslie A. Pal, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy and Public Administration, Carleton University.

B. Guy Peters, Maurice Falk Professor of American Government, Department of Political Science, University of Pittsburgh.

Mary Simon, President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

Wendy Thomson, Director, School of Social Work, McGill University.

Christopher Waddell, Carty Chair in Business and Financial Journalism and Associate Director, School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University.

Since 1995 MISC has hosted large-scale annual conferences which foster informed, non-partisan discussions of issues affecting Canadians, ranging from Quebec-Canada relations, Aboriginal issues, citizenship and health-care to Canadian media, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, food, and cultural policy.

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Contact Information

Pascal Zamprelli
Media Relations Office
pascal.zamprelli [at]
Office Phone: 
514 398-2189