Commissioning Ideas: Canadian National Policy Innovation in Comparative Perspective

Paperback | April 1, 1998

byNeil Bradford

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Despite a vast literature on specific Canadian public policies and policy sectors, no one until now has sought to understand where the ideas for policy change--especially fundamental change--originate in the Canadian political system. Professor Neil Bradford's incisive and highly readableCommissioning Ideas makes a major contribution to our understanding of Canadian public policy by clearly demonstrating the dynamics of idea generation and national policy innovation at times of economic crisis and popular discontent. In such uncertain times, Canadian political leaders have not led; rather, they have appointed royal commissions. Two of these--the Rowell Sirois Commission in the 1930s and the Macdonald Commission in the 1980s--devised sweeping policy packages that led to major change in the political and statesystems. A third royal commission, the Gordon Commission in the 1950s, was similarly influential but with different effects. It launched two opposed policy discourses--liberal continentalism and interventionist nationalism--that fought for dominance over the next three decades. In addition to examining Canadian policy innovation from the Great Depression to the present, Professor Bradford provides a comparative perspective by surveying developments in Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States, where social interests, political parties, and the executive,respectively, have been central to policy change. The book concludes with a call for a 'Fourth National Policy', with sustainable full employment as its central feature and increased research funding for political parties and proportional electoral representation as important factors for itsrealization.

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Despite a vast literature on specific Canadian public policies and policy sectors, no one until now has sought to understand where the ideas for policy change--especially fundamental change--originate in the Canadian political system. Professor Neil Bradford's incisive and highly readableCommissioning Ideas makes a major contribution ...

Neil Bradford teaches in the Department of Political Science at Huron College, University of Western Ontario. His main areas of academic interest are public policy, political economy, and the role of intellectuals in political life. Prior to joining Huron College, Dr. Bradford was a Policy Advisor in the Government of Ontario, and a...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.5 inPublished:April 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019541179X

ISBN - 13:9780195411799

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsAbbreviations1. Ideas, Politics, and National Policy Innovation2. Creating the Second National Policy, 1930-1950: Economic Ideas and Bureaucratic Mobilization3. Searching for a New National Policy, 1950-1965: Economic Ideas and Party Politics4. Still Searching, 1965-1975: Economic Ideas and Bureaucratic Politics5. Creating the Third National Policy, 1975-1995: Economic Ideas and Class Mobilization6. Social Learning and Policy Innovation: Comparative Perspectives7. Conclusion: Economic Ideas, Political Institutions, and Policy Innovation in CanadaNotesSelected BibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Commissioning Ideas is an excellent book which will be welcomed by all those with an interest in the role of ideas in public policy innovation...[it] makes an important contribution to the study of Canadian public policy." Canadian Journal of Political Science