Canada is known for its inclusive citizenship and multiculturalism policies that have been largely successful in integrating an increased diversity of Canadians. In contrast to the previous approach, in 2007, the Conservative government initiated a fundamental change to make citizenship more meaningful and emphasize integration in multiculturalism.
Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism provides insight into the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels through this period of intense policy renewal. The book examines, from a practitioner’s viewpoint, the political challenge to public servants’ knowledge, expertise and experience. Whether reflecting different ideological perspectives, reliance on formal evidence or extensive outreach, or contrasting perceptions of risk, the public service was confronted with a major break with previous thinking and priorities.
Drawing from a series of case studies, Griffith illustrates how public servants responded to this challenge and were forced to face the limits of their expertise and knowledge, while providing the "fearless advice and loyal implementation" expected of bureaucrats in Canada.
Of interest to academics, media and policy makers, as well as those interested in citizenship and multiculturalism in general, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias provides a unique inside view of the policy process, and the strengths and limits of policy making in citizenship and multiculturalism.
…. it deserves a wider view, if only because it confirms what so many of us in Ottawa have been hearing, anecdotally, about the dispirited state of the public service in a hyper-partisan government…. If we want to know why Kenney has managed to become one of Harper’s top ministers, we should probably take a close look at what Griffith is telling us about how things unfolded in terms of citizenship and multiculturalism.
Susan Delacourt, Toronto Star,
The Harper government vs. the public servants