Why Good Ideas Aren't Enough

First panel at Max Bell School's conference, addresses the importance of communications, stakeholder management, and the role of the partisan political process.

On November 14, 2019, over two hundred attendees from across the country will gather in Montreal for Better Policy for a Better World. This conference put on by McGill University's Max Bell School of Public Policy asks: how can we close the gap between the theory of public policy and the complex art of putting it into practice? 

The day's first panel, Why Good Ideas Aren't Enough, tackles the conference's central theme: while there’s certainly no shortage of problems in the world, there’s also no shortage of good policy ideas to solve them. 

"We’ve often heard that nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come," states panelist and CEO of Argyle Public Relationships Daniel Tisch. "For that time to come, we need communication, conflict, collaboration and ultimately consensus. It’s not enough for policy and communication to co-exist; they must work hand in hand," he adds.

For Ken Boessenkool, panelist and partner at Kool Topp & Guy Public Affairs: "the art of political party platform making is the ultimate interaction of pure politics and pure policy." Despite this, he believes the scrutiny of political platforms in recent years has increased the pressure on the pure policy side, without easing any of the pressure on the pure politics side.

"How Conservatives successfully manage this interaction explains some of their most impressive successes in the past decade," Boessenkool concludes. 

Panel #1: Why Good Ideas Aren't Enough also features:

  • Velma McColl, Principal, Earnscliffe Strategy Group

  • Bruce Lourie, President, Ivey Foundation

And is moderated by:

  • Paul Boothe, Fellow, Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity

You can hear more about what these panelists have to say about the many aspects that make public policy difficult in the real-world, by registering for the conference. More information on the panelists is available below. 


About the speakers:

Ken Boessenkool 

Partner, Kool Topp & Guy Public Affairs

Ken has worked for, or volunteered in a senior capacity for, Ray Speaker, Preston Manning, Jim Dinning, Stephen Harper, Christy Clark and Ric McIver. He has published numerous policy and academic papers on a range of key national issues, and is a frequent contributor to numerous online and print publications.

Velma McColl 

Principal, Earnscliffe Strategy Group

Prior to joining Earnscliffe, Velma advised Federal Cabinet Ministers on political strategy, policy and communications. She has also worked provincially in British Columbia and Alberta. Through her career, she has focused on Canada's competitiveness and innovation opportunities, climate change, energy, technology and sustainable development.

Dan Tisch 

CEO, Argyle Public Relationships

Daniel is widely known as a leader in the Canadian and global communications community. He is a long-standing advisor to all three orders of government in Canada and has been the lead strategist on branding, communications and stakeholder engagement programs on some of the most challenging issues in the public sector.

Paul Boothe 

Faculty Director of Ivey's Senior Public Leaders Program
Formerly: Richard Ivey School of Business, Western University; Deputy Minister, Environment Canada; Deputy Minister, Finance, Saskatchewan

Paul's career has included university research and teaching, acting as an independent consultant to Canadian and international organizations, and serving at the deputy minister level in provincial and federal governments.

Bruce Lourie 

President, Ivey Foundation

Bruce is co-author of the best-selling books Toxin, Toxout: Getting Harmful Chemicals Out of Our Bodies and Our World, and Slow Death by Rubber Duck. He is an Honorary Director of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and a founding Director of Canadians for Clean Prosperity.


For more information, please take a look at our detailed program agenda: https://www.mcgill.ca/maxbellschool/events/betterpolicy/agenda.

You can see a full list of speakers here: https://www.mcgill.ca/maxbellschool/events/betterpolicy/panelists.

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