The Innovation Journal: The Public Sector Innovation Journal, 5(2), 2000, article 1g.


Is Innovation a Question of Will or Circumstance?

An Exploration of the Innovation Process Through the Lens of the Blakeney

Government in Saskatchewan, 1971-82


Edited by Eleanor D. Glor

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Is Innovation a Question of Will or Circumstance?


Eleanor Glor

This book has analysed the innovation process in the Blakeney government two different ways. Sections I and II presented the perceptions of appointed and elected public servants who worked in the Blakeney government concerning how the government created its central agency and line agency reforms and innovations. They perceived the innovation process as both voluntary and determined. Section III examined the information presented about the innovation process in the previous sections in voluntaristic and deterministic terms, and conducted analyses of the Blakeney government in those terms. Has one approach proven to be superior?


Planned change and implementation can be considered sequential stages of the innovation process-the decision-making and implementation stages. The voluntaristic approaches of planned change and implementation are valuable to the practitioner. Under the constant pressure of political, client, stakeholder and employee demands, few managers have the time to analyze the issues or the processes they deal with in depth. Instead, they prefer recipes. Policy analysts spend some time on these issues, but tend to do so with a short or medium term focus, in the context of acceptability to ministers, deputies, stakeholders and clients.

A primary characteristic of the practitioner is his/her need to draw conclusions, and quickly. Studies focussed on the voluntaristic approach of planned change and implementation frequently draw conclusions, based on a limited number of cases studied. These conclusions are about best ways to secure skills needed, motivate staff, manage issues. They identify best practices and lessons learned. The scientific method has demonstrated that drawing conclusions based on a limited number of cases is often invalid-but the pressure is on, so it is done. This leads to an approach that says some change is better than no change, any direction is better than no direction. In this environment that refuses to accept uncertainty, every action is a either based on a formula of some sort-tradition, best practice, good management-or it is an experiment. Failure is frequent, but often hidden. Sometimes the results are treated as successes, even when they are not. Failure is ignored or abandoned, but not explored for learning. A great deal of promotion but little evaluation occurs. Unfortunately, in this environment little learning occurs and the predictability of action remains uncertain. It can be wasteful and even dangerous.

Is Innovation a Question of Will or Circumstance? has described administrative processes used by the Blakeney government to introduce, manage and evaluate innovation. The length and comprehensiveness of the government's policy innovation agenda created a complex administrative challenge. Focussed not on the policy changes but on how a great deal of innovation was planned and implemented, this book outlined management strategies in the central agencies, in economic planning, and in three line departments. It addressed the key functions that needed to be carried out-communications and coordination. It also answered three questions: What were the Saskatchewan government administrative innovations? What was needed to implement the agenda? What were the internal correlates of innovation?

From the voluntary perspective-that of the public servant, the following identifies strategies used by the Blakeney government to carry out this agenda, compares the strategies to those being used today, and explores the relevance of the Saskatchewan experience innovating in the 1970s for change management and innovation today.

Lessons Learned from a Voluntary Perspective

Glor (1997a) identified five factors essential to the capacity of the Blakeney government to produce and implement innovative policies: public acceptance, readiness, commitment, excellent management and a results-oriented outlook. How these conditions were created in the Blakeney government has been explained in Is Innovation a Question of Will or Circumstance?. These strategies were:

Base action on values. The Saskatchewan NDP had roots in the agrarian, labour and social gospel movements of the 1910s to the 1930s as well as in the social democratic Fabian movement in Great Britain. Its values were clearly identified and delineated in its election platform, that guided the government throughout its three terms.

Engage and empower the public service. To innovate successfully, the government and the public service leadership developed strategies to empower a moribund bureaucracy. Many existing public servants shared the public's desire for fundamental alterations to government. Management also used empowering strategies: Innovative ideas were sought out and listened to, innovative performance was rewarded, jobs had a good deal of variety. For many employees their jobs had personal relevance, appropriate autonomy and control, low levels of routine and rules, and high advancement prospects, the conditions of empowerment (Conger and Kanungo, 1988: 476-480). Respect from the Premier, ministers and senior management was the most important currency for public servants, and the opportunity to work on important issues and create useful innovations gave public servants the will to do their best.

Newly recruited staff wanted to change government, partly because they came from the baby boomer generation, for whom change was a positive quality (Glor, 1999). The government recruited its some key leaders from outside the government. (1) They in turn helped to create a dynamic of eagerness to change. When the early period of dynamism ended, Bolstad and Beatty left the government, Beatty returning to head up the Crown Investments Corporation.

For the most part the government maintained good relations with the government's unions, including public service unions, health care unions, and crown corporation unions. The government introduced progressive labour legislation, created a right for public servants to strike and required legislation-i.e. public debate rather than a Cabinet order-to force public sector strikers back to work if this was necessary. It introduced programs and experiments promoting labour empowerment through workplace occupational health and safety committees, work environment boards and an experiment in union membership on a Crown corporation board of directors. (Chapter 8) But this was a period of labour unrest in Canada, Saskatchewan supported wage and price controls, and unions had very high expectations of their NDP governments. Toward the end of its term, the NDP government suffered two painful strikes by the health services unions and the public service union (Chapter 6). NDP governments in British Columbia and Ontario previously and subsequently would also run into formidable problems with unions.

Accept and balance tension. Tension existed between central agency control and line department autonomy (chapters 2 and 6), among central agencies, and among departments. Tension also had to be managed between central agencies and Cabinet (chapter 1). When competition was unhealthy, as it sometimes was between the Planning Bureau and Budget Bureau, and between Cabinet and central agency bureaucrats, it did not enhance innovation (chapters 1 and 2).

Plan. The party and the government searched actively for better ideas, policies and approaches. A commitment toplanning grew out of the T. C. Douglas government and was strengthened in the Blakeney government. Planning was essential to an administration introducing many innovations at the same time. A strong policy planning and financial management capacity was crucial-this was revealed in Saskatchewan then and is today for example in New Brunswick and the federal government.

Be timely but avoid haste with initiatives that require innovative processes or public input. Successful and timely implementation of the change agenda reinforced political support and created momentum. Because the agenda was implemented so quickly, politicians realized political dividends from the innovation agenda and continued to support the existing agenda. This gave the public service the time and opportunity to implement the innovations fully. Haste sometimes prevented the introduction of the fundamental changes favoured by both ministers and the NDP, for example, in the development of northern Saskatchewan. It did allow the government to announce the creation of DNS in its first budget, however (Budget Speech, March 10, 1972). Fortunately for innovation in Saskatchewan, the Premier and Cabinet remained firmly committed to and focused on their political platform, the government's support from the populace remained strong enough to allow the government three terms, and the public service had adequate time to implement many innovations fully. The dental plan, for example, took many years to reach full

Use alternate delivery mechanisms when appropriate. By forming new Crown corporations Saskatchewan used what is known today in the Canadian federal government as alternate service delivery and in the United Kingdom as an arms length agency. According to the federal Treasury Board alternate service delivery is the most appropriate means used directly by government or in cooperation with other sectors (Treasury Board, 1995). Saskatchewan's crown corporations were a useful tool for implementing new strategies. While Saskatchewan's focus was economic development through crown corporations, and the major emphasis now is on privatization and improving service to the public, both have effectively used alternate service delivery to meet their objectives.

Secure funding. Contrary to popular images of NDP governments, the Saskatchewan NDP of the 1970s, like its CCF and Liberal forerunners and its NDP descendants, was committed to living strictly within its means. Deficits were rejected as an inappropriate means to fund initiatives.

Proceed incrementally and pragmatically. Be Flexible. Jerry Hammersmith and Bob Hauk made an important argument in chapter 5 for the need to use a more innovative policy development process in DNS. Generally, however, an incremental strategy worked well. The children's dental plan, day care and home care, for example, were expanded gradually as new staff were trained, administrative and governance structures were created, and resources could be made available. As in potash, this incremental, measured approach ultimately produced transformational results-the government gained control of the potash industry, para-professionals, parents and communities gained power, a complete health system was created, consisting of insured medical services, hospital services, drugs and home care (Hall, 1964). As Laux and Molot (1978: 843) pointed out concerning potash, however, "NDP practice merely followed already established norms of capitalist development.": Statism in the 1970s was a trans-ideological practice. For the most part the impact of change on power relationships was not fundamental. Opinions still vary about whether this was the best approach, but it was successful for eleven years.

Engage the public. In the early 1970s, few jurisdictions engaged the public in program development and delivery, even fewer developed structures to facilitate responsible public participation in the policy-making process. The NDP was based on a tradition of active party membership participation in policy formulation, and the government developed several innovative processes for public consultation and participation. The Saskatchewan model of external ministerial program advisory committees was sometimes effective, but at the federal level it had come to be perceived as an expensive process by the 1980s, and many committees were abolished in the early 1990s. In Saskatchewan provision for public input was incorporated into the planning and operations of many programs and some comprehensive policies were developed through consultative processes, such as uranium policy and urban aboriginal policy. Current calls for citizen engagement and more input from civil society in which non-government organizations would play a much larger role in government, may lead to a more determined model of public participation.

Keep the support of interest groups and client groups. While the political arena had mechanisms for consultation and securing feedback, such as NDP meetings and conventions, elections and the annual Premier's tour of the Province, the public service had its own methods for taking readings of public opinion. These techniques only rarely included polling, which was too expensive. In a small province, those seeking funding met with ministers and deputy ministers. Programs sought direct input from representative organizations, program users, employers and citizens. Advocacy funding was provided to facilitate participation and to empower community and disadvantaged groups. Public input was sought on the moral as well as the economic issues before development of two controversial uranium mines. These avenues gave ample exposure to those who were dissatisfied, but the confrontational exchanges often failed to give public servants new and acceptable options to respond more effectively to the public mood. Although the Blakeney government did not have a client-service orientation, as recommended in today's market models of government (Peters, 1996), it sought input from clients and tried to serve them well-by facilitating their making application for authorizations for economic development projects and by building a model of self-governance for day care, home care and community-run programs. At the end of the government, maintaining support was difficult in an environment of declining resources, inflation and a change in the dominant political ideology throughout the western world.

Communicate effectively. The credibility of government is in many ways determined by the effectiveness and perceived honesty of its communications . For twenty years, all governments, including the Blakeney government in its later years have been having difficulty generating understanding and maintaining public sympathy for their functions and approaches.

Communication with the public was in its infancy in the Blakeney government. The entire government had one press officer, located in Executive Council.

The government's capacity to keep the good will of the federal Liberal government was not very effective. Relations with the federal government were an important management issue, and included efforts to coordinate with federal ministries, create federal-provincial agreements and committees, joint consultative processes, and repatriation of the constitution in 1982. Political interactions with the federal government were also sometimes difficult, due to political and constitutional differences over potash, followed by a troublesome series of court challenges in which the federal government opposed the Saskatchewan position. This background of issues and differences of perspective about the appropriate role of the courts and aboriginal people during the constitutional negotiations led to creation of a provincial Department of Intergovernmental Affairs

Coordinate, create inclusive understanding and use comprehensive approaches. Coordinating internal activities improved the capacity of the government to focus, refine and communicate its efforts. As later in the federal government, senior analysts of the Budget Bureau were responsible for entire sectors-education, health and social services, economic development, the north-so they had the scope necessary to perform this function. Some new tools were developed for internal coordination, such as both horizontal and vertical expenditure review. Structural solutions were also used-such as creation of a horizontal department for the north. The active involvement and watchful eye of the Premier assured linkages were made as well.

The government also created comprehensive and horizontal programs, including the social planning initiative to deal with aboriginal issues, establishment and funding of a comprehensive department for the north, the preventive health initiative and the economic development committee that facilitated economic projects. Once a year, the Premier reported to the annual NDP convention on his government's success in implementing the party platform.

Do evidence-based decision-taking. The Blakeney government's rational approach to decision-taking facilitated this approach. So did its emphasis on developing evidence and comprehensive reporting. Program-based budgeting and evaluation was introduced, to assess the cost and success of programs. Comprehensive and consolidated reporting of both Crown corporation and government finances allowed the government to monitor, control and report upon its finances effectively, and together with careful management of revenues aided the government in maintaining a balanced budget. The creation of the Crown Investments Corporation also facilitated comprehensive reporting and solutions in the crown corporation sector. Likewise the Premier's annual report to the Party on progress with programs created an evidence base. These agencies and tools facilitated comprehensive analysis of the government's activities, and created information bases and control mechanisms needed across domains.

Be accountable. Prudence and frugality were linked to a commitment to fiscal accountability: Saskatchewan was an early innovator in striving for full disclosure of the financial dealings of the government. Unlike other governments, Saskatchewan reported tax expenditures and Heritage Fund activities in the budget speech and estimates. Consolidated reports were prepared for the first time for the Heritage Fund, the Crown Investments Corporation (crown corporations), and the Consolidated Fund (government), (2) an approach looked upon favourably by the financial houses. The federal move about the same time to produce a department-by-department disclosure through introduction of Part III of the Estimates together with the Saskatchewan alignment of fiscal years and analysis and publication of the province's economic and fiscal situation in both the government and Crown corporation sectors, introduced a new era of government openness in Canada. This candour was further enhanced by access to information legislation.

A focus on results or keeping the end in mind, in Steven Covey's terms (Covey, 1989), made the job clearer and in some ways easier. Answering the questions asked, creating the programs and services promised, and serving the public well was the focus. Accountability was created through the budget process, programs were assessed through the yearly PMIS-based setting of program objectives, measures, outputs and outcomes; the Budget; and the Premier's annual report on progress on the political agenda to the NDP convention.

Identify risks, address problems and failures in a timely manner. Many inactive governments allow problems to develop and fester until they must be addressed. The innovative and activist NDP and the Blakeney government tracked problems and dealt with problems, for example it abolished HRDA, the Saskatchewan Science Council, and the planning group in DNS, and constrained ESP. While the government was unwilling to accept internal opposition, it was willing to accept and fund external advocacy groups such as the Metis and Non-Status Association, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians and social advocacy agencies. Funding their left-wing opposition was not a comfortable position for the government, but support was strong for such funding both within the government and the NDP.

All governments face problems, not all of them deal with their problems effectively. Governments that did not address pension liabilities during the 1970s, for example, continue to fear the consequences under the watchful eye of financial houses, and have been forced to raise contribution rates, reduce eligibility or raid pension fund surpluses. Saskatchewan's action to create fully funded pensions invested in the marketplace predated similar federal action on the Canada Pension Plan and its employee plans by 20 years.

With no deficit and no debt, Saskatchewan's financial situation was better than that faced by most current governments wishing to innovate; still, the principles, strategies and processes used to manage innovation in Saskatchewan are relevant for innovative governments today. In developing its management strategies, the Saskatchewan government may have created a basic understanding of how to manage innovation and change.


While the previous section explored learning from the Blakeney government's processes from the perspective of management, planned change and implementation, this section looks at them from the perspective of the observer and analyser. It considers the determinants of emergence and processes used in Saskatchewan and asks what seems key to successful innovation from a determinants perspective.

Interest in the determinants of innovation has waned during the 1980s and 1990s, and funding for studies has largely disappeared. While the dominant model among organization behaviour theorists and sociologists is currently the open systems models outlined in Chapter 10, public administration analysts have not generally adopted this focus.

The Perspective of the Observer

Determinism-emergent change and processes-focuses on what causes innovation to occur as it does. It represents ways to analyze the innovation process and understand it from the outside, as determined by history and context (Leavy and Wilson, 1994). While potentially more objective than the participant's perspective, the practitioner often takes the position that the relevance of the observer's perspective needs to be demonstrated. Canadian practitioners today do not read much, and when they read, their primary choice is private sector-oriented how to, voluntaristic material such as the Harvard Business Review (Gow, 1994). The atmosphere in government could be argued to be anti-intellectual both on this basis and on others (e.g. Glor, 1999). Typically, practitioners ignore the academic observer's viewpoint, unless it is needed for a specific purpose.

The determinants perspective has the same weakness as the practitioners'-only rarely can conclusions be drawn from the determinants perspective. This situation is dissatisfying to the practitioner, but reflects the understanding of science, health, and social action today. The same is true of the understanding of change and innovation. The nature of the innovation process is uncertain.

Lessons Learned from a Deterministic Perspective

What has been learned by taking a deterministic approach in this study? The following points are offered for consideration.

  • Reality is not simple. It is therefore an error of logic to treat it as if this were true.
  • What happens in government is largely determined by what happens outside. Government does not control very much of its environment, despite the power it exercises, the resources it controls, and its attempts to do so: Even totalitarian governments that have made it their objective to control their society have ultimately been unsuccessful.
  • Public servants require knowledge of and a feeling for the broader environment. Although politicians are a major source of information on the external environment for public servants, and are an important interpreter of that environment, without knowledge of and a feeling for the broader environment of the government-historical, political, social, cultural-public servants cannot provide good advice to ministers. One of the key risks for public servants who work too much face is getting out of touch with the society they serve.
  • The way things are thought about and done determines what can be done. The notion that governments should or should not be involved in certain kinds of activities, that urgent is more important than right-ideas determine what governments can conceive of themselves as doing. Likewise, the processes used determine what the government can do. Intellect and flexibility are key to innovation.
  • Understand the basics. In the busy government environment it is easy to forget about the broader determinants at work in society and in government. The focus on the immediate, the tendency to treat four years as the long-term, because of the political cycle, frequently turns public servants away from fundamentals to deal primarily with the immediate. This leads to bad government. The inability to perceive one's own determinism, even if we can see that of our clients, is a major weakness of public servants.
  • Consultation is crucial. Public servants need effective means for reading the public and stakeholders and gaining good ideas from them. Rather than providing better means for controlling the public and bending them to the government's will, those mechanisms must be means for empowering the public to provide guidance to government. This does not mean single-issue groups should be given the opportunity to control their area of government. It does mean that elected and appointed officials must have good information about the population's needs and opinions in order to serve them well. It does mean the public and interest groups must take a responsible and informed approach to providing advice.
  • Adapt to the environment. The environment or culture-both external and internal-determines the innovations that are wanted and acceptable.
  • Public servants are often in conflict. Public servants must balance two very different roles: that of servant of the minister and servant of the public.
  • Processes are important. The process that occurs to create innovative outcomes is based on unique inputs, but appropriate processes can help or hinder innovation.
  • Space and time compete. As Harold Innis (1951) demonstrated, time and space are often in conflict. Governments must deal with both.
  • Open models help. Open models of the innovation or change process help both practitioners and analysers to consider what the inputs and outputs of government are, the historical and organizational context in which they are functioning, and how they can interact with their environment.

Overall, maintenance of open systems, understanding of determinants, and attention to processes are important for practitioners. Wilson's criticism of management writers for their narrow focus is supported by this study as is his urging that practitioners and academics alike take a more reflective approach. This book has attempted to do so.


The authors of this book did not typically see innovation as voluntarism or determinism, but as a mixture of the two. Frequently innovations were initiated by will, followed by a period of uncertainty in which negotiation, power, choice, and the interaction of many factors played a role. Wallace, Glor, Kramer, Gentles, and Snyder emphasized the voluntaristic aspects of innovation, seeing the innovations they examined as defined and implemented through planning, decisions taken, structures, processes, and individual contributions. PMIS, for example, was adopted by the government, financial health was created by careful planning and actions, the decision was taken to use a cheaper surfacing method on highways, a package of labour reforms was systematically introduced.

While the authors ascribed voluntarism to the innovation processes, they identified many deterministic aspects as well. Wallace saw PMIS emerging as the best choice among several competitors being proposed and adopted outside of the Saskatchewan government. There was no sense of one best way. The well-researched choice was chosen because of its potential to serve the needs of line departments, as well as central agencies. An internal governmental cycle of centralization and decentralization could be seen at work here. The innovation was not imposed by will but adopted voluntarily. The budget process was seen as competitive and iterative. Long term fiscal accounting, the Heritage Fund and the adjustments to pensions were all adaptations to Saskatchewan's boom/bust economic cycle. Revenue modelling and economic modelling were both bottom-up and evidence-based inputs to financial decision-making that competed with political considerations. Planning was stabilized by the government's adherence to its political platform. Cabinet and the Cabinet committees were a collegial decision-making system, and deputy ministers, not Cabinet ministers, were responsible for coordination.

The economic development strategy was based on specialized Crown corporations combined with central coordination that required little of the corporations. Competition occurred between central agencies and line and Crown agencies. The economic strategy was based on finding natural, specialized niches. Some specialization was temporary, such as the Potash Secretariat.

Kramer and Gentles describe a department of transportation functioning independently and voluntarily in competition with central agencies, but seeking broad-based input and cooperation with suppliers and the public. Communications internal to the government worked well, but external communication was rudimentary and too specialized, relying very much on the Premier. The labour innovations were introduced in a competitive environment, and shifted the ecological balance toward employees by controlling the maximum hours employees could be required to work, legislating information workers must have, creating rights to refuse unsafe work, and seeking to give workers more control in the workplace. While these reforms and innovations are described as coming into being because of the government, conflict with unions, employers and works is also described. While a decision was taken to gain more control over potash and more revenues from it, the process was iterative and the solution emerged from the process.

The development of DNS was an attempt at a top-down decision to engage Northern people, but it quickly became a competition for a new ecological niche, in which one group left and the others were left with the spoils, but the results were dysfunctional. Hammersmith and Hauk argue that greater openness and diversity of input to the decisions would have produced stronger institutions and programs, and more efficient and effective programs which were better adapted to northerners' needs. Although they use a voluntary argument, they are arguing for a more open process instead of a closed competitive environment.


Some 1970s Saskatchewan innovations and approaches have been adopted by other governments. As the population ecology model suggests, innovations are adopted selectively. Not all innovations of a social democratic government are of interest today, not all innovations are ever copied and dissemination is frequently a slow process: Stuart Conger found that new educational inventions took 50 years to be introduced in half the schools and technical innovations took 15 years to be disseminated to half the potential users (Conger, 1974: 7). How long public administration innovations take to disseminate is not known, but it feels like the rate has accelerated. Many Saskatchewan process innovations remain not only relevant but also potential improvements that have yet to be realized. From one perspective, adoption needs to accelerate, from another, it needs to become more conscious and consistent with its organizational and societal environment.

With its combination of favourable circumstances, successful strategies for implementing and managing innovations, commitment, action on problems, focus on results, professional approach, minimum of failures, and some process fit, the Saskatchewan public service of 1971-82 implemented a major change agenda and a great many innovations within a balanced budget. The processes utilized and created to accomplish this agenda were effective, for the most part.

As this book has demonstrated, innovation in the Saskatchewan government of 1971-82 was both a question of will and circumstance. A gifted, bureaucratically savvy premier provided low-key but pointed leadership to a government that moved ahead with both incremental and transformational innovation. What those innovations were-the areas they dealt with-were determined by the tasks the government faced, both internal to the government and vis-a-vis the economy and the public. While the government did not solve any of the province's economic problems, it found a model in the new private sector model of joint ventures that would potentially have allowed the province much more control over it's the ups and downs of its economy and had begun to create in Saskatchewan head offices that produced white collar instead of just blue collar production jobs. At the same time this kind of planned economy was anathema to the developing neo-conservative political environment in North America and world-wide. The uniqueness of the Saskatchewan political and social environment during the 1970s, with some openness to radical economic action, combined with a generally conservative social mood, was understood by the government. The economic and social boundaries were pushed, but the environment of openness and experimentation that grew out of the political revolution of the 1930s combined with the social revolution of the 1960s and 1970s did not last. With the neo-conservative back-lash of the 1980s, much of what the Blakeney government had created was dismantled. The Devine government's focus on the public service as part of the problem was consistent with the conservative, economic-man concept brought to government and inherent in the New Public Management (NPM) that accompanied the notion of a reduced role for government.

The life-cycle of government in Saskatchewan subsequently brought another NDP government to power in 1991. This NDP government absorbed the changed values of the 1980s and 1990s and adopted some of the principles of the NPM, such as decentralization, into its agenda. But within that context it also moved forward with traditional NDP principles such as greater equality through its important role in creating the national Child Tax Credit, the National Children's Agenda and the successful negotiations with the federal government to reimburse in the 1999 federal budget some of the cuts to the education, health and social transfers introduced in 1995-97. And so the cycles continue.

All this said, can Is Innovation a Question of Will or Circumstance? claim that it has identified what is key to successful innovation? Yes and no. Will or Circumstance? has identified some of the factors that came together in the Blakeney government. The combination of will and opportunity that created the desire and an openness to innovation would look different somewhere else, but it would be recognized by those living it. This book has produced some generalizations but its ideas have not demonstrated a predictive power. Research is needed that tests out the propositions that are made and used-both voluntaristic and determined. A powerful theory, as opposed to a weak theory of innovation would be able to predict which governments would be innovative, and the impact of innovations. We are not there yet, with individuals or organizations, including governments. This failing is not restricted to innovation-human behaviour remains unpredictable, even if many patterns can be recognized.


1. Garry Beatty and Wes Bolstad were recruited from the Faculty of Administration at the University of Regina. The Romanow NDP government twenty years later also engaged a public administration academic, Gregory Marchildon, to be Secretary to the Cabinet, as the federal Liberals engaged David Zussman to handle the transition when they came into power in 1993.

2. The Consolidated Fund is the mechanism through which governments receive and dispense funds for government operations. Crown corporations and loans to agencies outside government are usually funded outside the Consolidated Fund.

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