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


Is Innovation a Question of Will or Circumstance?

An Exploration of the Innovation Process (PDF)

Through the Lens of the Blakeney Government in Saskatchewan, 1971-82



Edited by Eleanor D. Glor

Previous: Section 2 Top: Table of Contents Next: Chapter 6

Chapter 5:

Incremental Policy Development and Processes:

Creation of the Department of Northern Saskatchewan:


Jerry Hammersmith and Bob Hauck


The Department of Northern Saskatchewan (DNS) story illustrates a vision initially expressed, but later abandoned, choices not taken and an opportunity missed by the Blakeney government. Northerners, the New Democratic Party, the Premier, the first Minister of Northern Saskatchewan and the cabinet initially directed the development of a northern Single Agency characterized by innovation. Not only were the results of northern policy to be innovative: the processes of constructing policy were to be innovative in nature as well (Hauck, 1981, pp. 21-46).

DNS became characterized by incremental change rather than by transformational change. The major focus came to be making modifications to existing programs, management and administrative processes, rather than creating new programs reflecting unique northern needs. This is not to discount or minimize the achievements of the government during this time. Clearly very significant and new resources were devoted to a northern situation on which previous administrations had spent very little energy or resources.

This chapter provides a look at this unique opportunity to initiate innovative policy-making, program design, and service delivery to a niche clientele. It analyses the Department against the policy process objectives initially stated for it. DNS clearly was originally intended to develop innovative policy in an innovative, participatory and coordinated manner.

To construct innovative policy, innovative policy development must be done. A clear distinction must be drawn between innovative policy development and incremental policy development which may result in new policy or program thrusts. The definition of innovation outlined in the Introduction to this book suggests the same distinction when referring to new ways of doing things. The odds for policy innovation occurring rise significantly when the process of making policy is innovative.

To further classify and distinguish between these models it is useful to describe the processes a bit further. An incremental change model develops policy, starting from a well-established benchmark, making modifications to suit an environment which is perceived to be changing only slightly. In an innovative change model, re-examining, redefining, and perhaps even re-envisioning the problems which are the subject of government policy is fundamental. Innovation clearly implies that at some point, the agents of innovation have examined a policy problem with different assumptions, beliefs or values in place than had existed previously. (1)

An analogous comparison might be between a budgeting process which modified a previous year's figures by a relatively constant per cent and a zero-based process where each budget component was rethought and justified each year. The first process is clearly incremental; the second process is either innovative or far more likely to lead to innovative results. There is a far higher probability in a zero-based budgeting process or in innovative policy development that the underlying assumptions and values will be challenged or changed and new solutions to old problems found. In very many ways, this argument and the distinction being made is simply the same as the argument made by Thomas Kuhn in his seminal work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1970). (2) Often we have the best chance to solve old, or seemingly intractable problems by changing our paradigm with respect to how we have been attempting to solve the problem, ie. changing the way we look at the problem in a fundamental way. This must occur in innovative policy making processes. In northern Saskatchewan, the problems were both old, and seemingly intractable.

The Single Agency Concept

In the late 1950s, provincial officials began discussing development of a single agency as a vehicle to help alleviate the widening disparities between the southern and northern halves of the province. Again and again between 1959 and 1971, under both CCF and Liberal administrations, the single agency concept was recommended to government by its central agencies (Hauck,1981, pp.15-20).

The basis for making this recommendation was a shared recognition of the administrative difficulties which plagued government in its attempt to serve northern residents. During the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, government policy was administered primarily through the Northern Administration Branch of the Department of Natural Resources (D.N.R.) by Conservation Officers stationed throughout the North. Although their training was in resource management, they became virtually the total presence of government. British Columbia had an equivalent-its provincial agents. In Saskatchewan they distributed social assistance, assisted local governments, provided for various municipal facilities, organized local co-operatives, and took responsibility for some community development work. Meanwhile, the line departments which formally were responsible for these activities perceived no need to modify their programs to suit the very unique needs and circumstances of northern residents. (3)

It is difficult to appreciate fully how different the situation of northerners was. In 1971, the Saskatchewan north, defined legally and geographically as the Northern Administration District (the N.A.D.), was populated by fewer than 30,000 persons. Approximately two-thirds of those persons were of either Cree or Chipewyan ancestry. They lived in fewer than 35 communities scattered over a land area of over 150,000 square kilometres. Roughly one-third of the population was Treaty Indian, historically the responsibility of the federal government. Another third was white, clustered mainly in the more developed communities of La Ronge, Creighton and Uranium City. The other third was Metis, a new nation created in Western Canada by the influx of whites. Being neither white nor Treaty Indian, the Metis stood apart and often expressed feelings of bitterness, frustration and neglect at their lack of land and recognition as a people or nation.

Unlike southern residents, northerners suffered under circumstances more akin to those of people in the Third World. In 1971, major diseases such as tuberculosis and typhoid plagued northern residents at rates from two to thirty five times provincial norms. More than sixty per cent of northern children dropped out of school before grade five. Of eleven thousand persons of labour force age in the north, fewer than half were employed and less than one-quarter of those employed earned over two thousand dollars annually. (4) These wage figures underline the region's continuing dependence upon subsistence activities such as hunting, trapping and commercial fishing. Forestry and fire-fighting also provided some northern residents with seasonal employment. Full-time wage employment was concentrated in the three centres of La Ronge, Creighton and Uranium City, where mining activities provided a focal point for service development. Most of these employment opportunities went to whites, who often tended not to make the north their permanent home.

These statistics give further credence to the assessment that the history of northern Saskatchewan before 1972 represented a classic case of colonialism and underdevelopment. Virtually all organized elements of society-government, education, commerce, communications and the church were controlled and dominated by agencies, organizations, companies and people from outside the north. Local representatives of these outside agencies constituted the local management and service delivery core of most communities and were accountable to outside headquarters, rather than to the community and its residents.

In most communities, social and economic conditions were severely depressed. The future appeared bleak and apathy was widespread. The most important reason for establishing a single agency therefore, was to reverse the previous processes of underdevelopment through innovative approaches to both policy development, on the one hand, and program management and service delivery on the other. New approaches, involving northerners in co-management, were thought necessary for northerners to benefit from development.

Searching for A Vision, A Mission and A Strategy

In its 1971 election platform, the New Deal For People, the NDP promised to "develop a comprehensive northern development program with emphasis on the needs of our native people" . . . and to also "ensure that Indian and Metis organizations are effectively involved in planning and implementing programs which affect Indian and Metis people". (5) The New Deal for People provisions were supplemented prior to the June 1971 election with an NDP-approved document calling for creation of a northern single-agency. The document, initially inspired by northern Athabasca Constituency New Democrats Allan Quandt, Bob Dalby, Glen Lindgren and others of La Ronge, called for a Northern Commissioner or Commission.

Three months after the 1971 election, Indian and Metis Affairs Minister, G. R. (Ted) Bowerman in a cabinet document described a range of possible initiatives, and recommended the establishment of a Northern Research and Development Authority with representation from northern areas. (6) The 1971 Convention of the NDP had provided even more specific guidance. Resolutions called for: a Northern Commissioner or Commissioners; a Northern Development Authority, responsible to the Commissioner(s); a Northern Council consisting of residents of the north; and the establishment of Regional Councils made up of representatives of local governments, with representatives from Regional Councils to form a larger Northern Territorial Council. Party policy became government policy by a cabinet minute of October 12, 1971, establishing a Special Cabinet Committee to oversee the development of the single agency and the implementation of the Bowerman Principles for Northern Development. (7) The Committee, chaired by Blakeney, was made up of Gordon MacMurchy, Minister of Education, Ted Bowerman, Minister of Indian & Metis Affairs and Eiling Kramer, Minister of Natural Resources.

Ted Bowerman's cabinet document asked the political leadership in the province to recognize that:

there is little realization and less appreciation of the fact that problems of the north are different from those of the southerly, developed sectors of the Province. To try to administer them in the same way is an impunity on our ability to cope outside the established and traditional structures. (8)

The province's political leadership was clearly advocating an innovative, rational-comprehensive approach to policy-making leading to new policies and programs.

Premier Blakeney also made clear government's vision of an innovative approach to making and implementing northern policy:

We look to the new Department to provide a new focus for building government services in the north, with the involvement of the people living in the northern communities. This means involvement, not only in an advisory capacity, but also in a developing capacity of self-government and local decision making. . . it will require readiness. . . to abandon the safe, standardized approaches to the delivery of government services. (9)

Choosing Incrementalism Over Innovation in Policy-making

The Northern Research and Development Authority called for in the Bowerman cabinet paper was to develop with northern people a strategic plan for an innovative northern single agency. Such a prototypical agency could have introduced a truly innovative approach to development. Cabinet, made a decision, however, to create quickly a full-fledged department which would simultaneously plan and implement programs. This decision, made on the advice of the Special Cabinet Committee and supported by central agencies, resulted in dropping the earlier recommendation to establish a Development Authority. This decision implied that the new, single agency would focus on implementing existing programs and management processes rather than on new processes, policies and programs such as those initially called for by northerners, the NDP, the Premier and the Minister of Indian and Metis Affairs. (10)

It appears that the implications of this decision were not fully thought through. In the haste of a new government to do something or at least appear to be doing something concrete and specific, a decision with major consequences was made on the basis of almost no visionary or strategic thinking. Former Cabinet Secretary, Keith Saddlemeyer said,

As I recall it, the Special Committee, in thinking through the options and deciding what to do, may have decided that 'since we want to end up with a single agency anyway, let's start with that and let the single agency evolve the northern vision, mission, strategy, action plan and budget.' (11)

Allan Blakeney said of the Saddlemeyer statement, "I suspect that may very well be true." (12) Government was hoping that both innovative policy and program development and immediate program implementation could occur simultaneously, without thinking through the possible conflicts in direction, roles and responsibilities which would likely result from these dual approaches.

Eiling Kramer, the Minister then responsible for Natural Resources was concerned that any new agency would encroach on the roles and responsibilities of officials in his Department. Reportedly Kramer was not opposed to the single agency, as long as the single agency was D.N.R. When it became apparent that momentum was gathering rapidly in favour of transferring all northern responsibilities to the new agency, according to Bowerman, Kramer began avoiding Special Cabinet Committee meetings and was generally uncooperative in Committee attempts to move the single agency forward. This position was reportedly consistent with the position taken by officials in D.N.R. (13)

Other departments, including Education, Social Services and Health were reportedly either actively resistant to, or at least reluctant to cooperate with, any actions which would have the effect of transferring mandate, responsibility, positions, personnel and finances to a new department. Bureaucratic and political resistance to establishing the new agency was partly resolved by Premier Blakeney in a cabinet shuffle. Eiling Kramer was transferred to the Highways portfolio while responsibility for both the Departments of Natural Resources and the proposed new northern single agency was given to Ted Bowerman. (14) The Special Cabinet Committee on the northern single agency then became a three minister committee made up of Blakeney, MacMurchy and Bowerman.

Cabinet's decision to establish the new Department of Northern Saskatchewan in 1972 with full and immediate responsibility for planning and program delivery reflected cabinet's concern that the substantial problems apparent in northern Saskatchewan be addressed with something more concrete and immediate than a planning and development authority. The decision to establish a full-fledged department with immediate program delivery responsibilities created an immediate need to make decisions about the single agency's structure. It no longer was possible to think through various options about how northern development could proceed or to involve northerners in this strategic thinking/planning process. Instead, it became necessary to hire senior personnel with administrative backgrounds to supervise the transfer of programs from southern line departments to an Operations Branch of the new Department. Programs developed for southern Saskatchewan were implemented with limited modification to suit northern conditions. The Branch was staffed for the most part by career public servants concerned with establishing familiar management systems.

At the same time as the Operations Branch was established, a Policy and Planning Branch was created, and directed to devise both new and innovative programs, a mandate which inevitably placed the Branch in conflict with the Operations Branch. Policy and Planning personnel interpreted the NDP's and the Premier's publicly stated goals and commitment to northern development quite literally. Their approach to policy-making represented a significant departure from previous government practice. Policy recommendations were clearly related to the government's publicly stated goals for public participation in policy development. A wide range of new, and significantly different, options were surveyed before settling on specific recommendations.

By late 1973, while the new Department was still becoming operational, the Policy and Planning and Operations Branches were working at cross-purposes. The on-going conflict climaxed in May 1974 when Policy and Planning Branch employees published a document strongly condemning government's northern activities: their resignations were quickly asked for and given. This marked the end of the Department's opportunity to establish innovative policy-making as its modus operandi (Hauck, 1981, pp. 25-28).

The dropping in early 1972 of the Northern Research and Development Authority recommendation followed, in 1974, by the demise of the Policy and Planning Branch produced two results: first, failure to identify a strategy based on the 1971 NDP election platform, the 1971 Bowerman cabinet document, the NDP 1971 convention resolutions and the 1972 Blakeney speech to DNS staff; second, failure to develop effective means for engaging northern and native people, jointly with the government, in identifying: a northern Vision (15) and a DNS Mission. (16) Allan Blakeney said:

I agree-we were not, at that time, skilled and experienced in methods of involving the public in designing policies that might affect them-except through regular structures such as the Rural and Urban Municipal Associations, School Trustees Associations, business, agricultural and labour organizations, native organizations, public institutions and the like. We used the prevailing methods of the early 1970s-and were innovative within those methods. We didn't anticipate the new demands, beginning in the 1970s and becoming even more prevalent in the 1980s and 1990s, for involvement in policy formulation by the stakeholders in the eventual outcomes of policy. We just weren't in the vanguard of developing public consultative mechanisms for participatory policy formulation-we weren't 20 years ahead in many of these kinds of areas. We were much more management and administrative innovators than policy formulation innovators. (17)

Blakeney went on to identify some of the government perceptions which shaped attitudes toward the native and aboriginal leadership in Saskatchewan:

We may have lost this opportunity for innovation because we may have felt there were no obvious, existing regular structures in the north with the mandate or the capacity to articulate northern needs, from a general northern perspective. While The Federation of Saskatchewan Indians (FSI) spoke for all Treaty Indians, the Metis Society of Saskatchewan (M.S.S.) claimed to speak for the Metis, but many northern Metis said M.S.S. did not represent them, so there did not appear to be a united 'Northern' voice speaking for northerners generally. (18)

A call for such a northern voice came in an M.S.S. presentation to cabinet in the summer of 1973. It sought a Northern Regional Councils and a Northern Territorial Council, and proposed that representatives to these Regional Councils be chosen by community local governments. Regional Councils would each select representatives for a Northern Territorial Council. The Territorial Council would have a crucial role in policy development and program planning for the northern single agency.

Either the Northern Territorial Council proposed by the Metis Society, the Northern Research and Development Authority proposed by Bowerman or a combination of the two, working with the FSI may well have constituted the lost opportunity and/or the northern voice Blakeney mentioned. It is likely that the opportunities for innovation were there, obvious to some, but ignored by others in the rush to appear to be doing something right away.

Broad, general northern problem areas had been identified. There was a widely-shared desire to do something about them. Vehicles were either present, or had been recommended, that were capable of converging northern and government efforts in first developing northern policy and then planning and implementing northern programs. The decision that emerged from Special Cabinet Committee discussions, however, left joint northern/government identification of a northern vision, a mission for the single agency, and detailed program planning in abeyance to immediately implement the single agency.

Without a vision, a mission statement or a strategic plan commonly understood and agreed upon by both government and northerners, it was inevitable that the single agency would later be held responsible for more than it could actually accomplish. It was destined to become an organization whose goals, strategy, role and limitations were not well understood by the government that created it, the civil servants who staffed it, the client group it intended to serve or the general public that paid for it and in whose name it was created.

The Victory of Incrementalism

Evidence from four specific DNS program areas demonstrates the triumph of the incremental change paradigm over the innovation paradigm originally intended. Opportunities for northern involvement in policy development and programs were lost in the decision to stand by traditional and incremental resource-use management policies, failure to create an economic development strategy, the way northern community colleges were developed and administered, and the demise of the Training Opportunities Program (TOP). Incremental policy approaches were consistently adopted when innovative approaches could have been implemented.

Fisheries Resource Allocation

A first example of Incrementalism gaining over innovation is in the area of fish management. The conflict within one branch over use of northern fish resources is arguably the best example of the difficulties encountered in attempting to implement an innovative policy approach. When the new Department of Northern Saskatchewan was created, approximately 80 people from the Department of Natural Resources became the first employees of the new Department, all of them located organizationally within the Resources Branch. Their duties continued much as they had previously. (19) More significantly, the resource use paradigm of these Resources Branch employees did not shift.

During the nearly three decades of previous northern administration, a policy of multiple resource use had developed. In relation to fisheries policy, this meant the development of a web of formal and informal policies designed to conserve the resource and minimize conflicts between commercial fishermen and those interested in sport fishing. The starting point for fisheries policy was that if sport fishermen were making efficient use of the resource, then commercial fishing could be restricted. Often lakes were arbitrarily zoned by resource officers so that commercial and sport fishing users were kept apart from each other. (20) Much of the decision-making was ad hoc within a well-established, extremely stable policy framework which was well-understood by those administering the policy.

To put this policy and the conflict which developed over policy into context, the role of commercial fishing in northern Saskatchewan must be understood. In 1971, the industry ranked as the largest employer of northern residents, with over 1,000 participants. Although yielding an average annual income of less than $1,500, this income represented 28% of the income earned outside the government sector. (21)

For the policy developers in the Policy and Planning Branch, an alternate approach to fisheries management appeared to present some real opportunities for northerners. Their philosophy was to manage the resource in a way which maximized the benefits to northern residents, while still conserving the resource. After investing significant dollars in investigating such an alternate approach, the Department in February 1974 established a Fisheries Development Program under which a new fisheries management system was to be developed and implemented. The program objectives were to increase returns to people in the fishing industry, to create greater employment in the industry, and to provide better protection for the fishery resource. (22)

Implementation of the Fisheries Management System was placed within the jurisdiction of a Fisheries Development Unit which was created within the Resources Branch. The existing, incremental fisheries management approach was not changed, because the new system was not developed to the point where it could take over from the existing system. (23)

A key tenet of the innovative policy approach was to structure northern participation into both developing policy and making local resource use decisions. Fisheries Development Unit employees believed philosophically that given adequate information, northern residents who had an active interest in local resources would make decisions based on the best long-term interest of community members. (24) Employees from the Fisheries Management group were concerned that sport fishing interests would be discriminated against in any scheme which gave northern residents an unequivocal voice in resource use decisions. They also believed that the fish resource would be adversely affected. Fisheries Management employees perceived Fisheries Development employees were encouraging commercial fishermen to believe that they actually owned the resource. Any such belief was in direct conflict with the principle that the province owned and had the obligation to manage natural resources. (25)

In many ways, the conflict which developed between staff of the same branch of government was a classic conflict between service and control. Development Unit employees, unencumbered by the traditions of government administration in the north, travelled into northern communities to help northern residents employed in the commercial fishing industry. They attempted to improve the management capability of commercial fishermen, to assist them in reducing culling and improving quality, to facilitate development of a more sensitive quota system and to help them apply for northern economic development loans. (26)

The paradigm of Fisheries Management employees was completely different. Their role was to control resource use through enforcement. They perceived the rapidly developing road access to the north as creating a climate where more conflict between resource users was likely, and they wanted to avoid conflict. (27) The conflict between these resource management paradigms was played out in the public arena. Each local conflict where Development and Management employees took or encouraged actions at cross-purposes to each other tended to reinforce the biases each group already had about the other group. Philosophical disagreements turned quickly into personal animosity. With no strategy for determining an overall approach for government policy in this area, conflict was inevitable.

This situation remained unresolved from 1974 until 1977. Early in 1977, the senior official in the Fisheries Development Unit left the Department. Over the course of the next year, most of the rest of the Fisheries Development people left as well. Direction of the unit was given to one of the senior Fisheries Management people. By default, the innovative approach was defeated by the traditional, incremental approach. Senior departmental management was asked to resolve the dispute several times, but requests were deferred by asking for more information. (28)

Northern Economic Development and the Loan Fund

Everyone connected with the North, then and now, agrees that economic development is a pivotal northern policy issue. The Department's economic development approach represents a second example of how the rush to establish a program created unrealistic expectations, almost insurmountable difficulties, and obliterated the possibility of innovation. This example most clearly raises the question as to whether a slower, more rational and more participatory policy development approach might have created positive, sustainable results.

Beyond a general recognition of the need to target development at communities in their present location, not much thought was given to designing a systematic economic development strategy so remote northern communities could become self-sustaining. Perhaps pushed by the political requirement to be perceived as doing something in this critical policy area, the Department initiated a loan fund in July 1973. (29) The loan fund quickly became the Department's most visible attempt to promote northern economic development. Administering the loan fund became a major challenge, however. The lack of an overall strategy, compounded by the almost total disarray of the Economic Development Branch in the first two years of its operation were the two most significant factors which affected loan fund administration.

The administrative tribulations quickly diverted all attention from the larger issues of strategy and alternate mechanisms for achieving goals. The Branch had three different directors within the first eight months of its existence. Ten months after the Branch had been established, no field staff were available to provide assistance to potential clients. Added to this confusion, the initial capitalization of the loan fund, that was intended to be a revolving fund (able to retain its revenues), was low. Only three months after the regulations establishing the fund had been filed, two-thirds of the fund had been disbursed, and the loan approval process was deliberately slowed. (30)

Criticism of the Branch's activities was rampant within the Department and in the north as a whole throughout the Branch's life. The Minister put a complete freeze on Branch activities in early 1974, complaining that the Department had developed no policy for economic development in the areas of agriculture, fishing, trapping or wood harvesting. He also suggested that there were inadequate policies surrounding the fund, with no criteria regarding questions such as subsidizing interest rates or forgiving loans. (31)

By mid-1974, new regulations for the loan fund had been filed, and new and much larger limits for the loan fund account were in place. Tremendous pressure then was placed on Branch employees to process loans just as quickly as they could. This pressure put in place the second phase of the Branch's considerable difficulties. Within a year, the loan fund again was half used, and Branch officials as well as Central Agency staff were concerned about the high rate of delinquent accounts. Again under a new Director, Branch employees began to focus on more rigorously evaluating loans and on collecting delinquent loans. (32)

Generally these changes were successful in terms of allowing the loan fund to revolve. The time and energy required of Branch officials to administer loans properly came to be recognized during these years. By year-end 1976, senior officials of the Department, under some pressure from Budget Bureau, the Comptroller's Office and Treasury Board, had determined that the Branch's activities would be formally limited to administering the loan fund and providing support to loan fund clients. (33) This narrowed the Branch's mandate from the broad perspective of promoting all economic development and all vehicles for development to the narrow perspective of a small business loan fund. Such a narrowing again illustrates the intensity of pressure to make policy in an incremental fashion. The broader questions of creating economic development strategies were once again ignored as the Department struggled to implement administrative controls for a program perceived to be out of control.

Northern Community Colleges

The way community colleges were created in the North is a third example of Incrementalism dominating innovation.

Establishing DNS coincided with development of a new system of community colleges in the rest of the province. Adult education was a critical building block for employment and resource development activities in the north, so consideration was quickly given to how the community college concept could apply in the north. All of the premises underlying community colleges appeared to have ready application in the north. Community colleges could provide a decentralized, locally controlled system of adult education which could be actively used to support and promote community development. (34)

In the area of trades training, however, northern needs were significantly different from those in the south. Large technical/ vocational facilities existed in the south; community colleges were not intended to deliver such training. In the north, trades training was a critical area of need. Many northern economic opportunities, such as constructing basic physical infrastructure and large scale resource extraction, depended on skilled tradespeople. Complicating factors included the remoteness of northern communities and the lack of mobility of northern residents.

The first northern community college was established under the jurisdiction of the Department of Continuing Education and began operating in La Ronge in 1973. All other continuing education programs were transferred to the Department of Northern Saskatchewan. (35) DNS's Colleges Branch began implementing continuing education programs through regional offices, which included the La Ronge Community College region, without consulting the La Ronge Community College Board and Principal. (36) These programs, adult basic education and special interest programs, were the very programs community colleges were best able to deliver.

These difficulties delayed the formal transfer of community colleges responsibility to the northern department for a period of approximately six months. The formal letter of understanding between the two Ministers reflected the concern which College staff and the Continuing Education Minister had about interference by Colleges Branch staff. (37) This early need for clarification presaged a long history of poor relations between departmental officials and staff working for northern colleges.

Colleges Branch officials, operating with some budget constraints, were concerned about integrating the College's activities with their own Branch activities. They wished to ensure that efficiencies were achieved in the delivery of programming. College officials and Board members saw these concerns as meddling in and infringing upon the College's autonomy. (38)

A factor which should not be underestimated is the apparent disorganization within the Colleges Branch. Within the first year of operation, the Colleges Branch was reorganized and renamed. In 1975 and 1976, the Branch experienced severe budget cuts, blamed by the Budget Bureau on weaknesses in accountability and control. (39) Within this atmosphere, the Department decided to implement community colleges on a full-scale basis throughout the North.

DNS quickly found itself facing controversy over how College Board members were to be appointed. The Community Colleges Act clearly made board member appointment a matter of Ministerial discretion. (40) Northern residents, however, felt that they should influence, if not control this matter. Appointments to the La Ronge Region Community College became an issue after a clash between college staff and its Principal. After the Principal resigned, the Minister decided that the Board required rejuvenating. (41)

At a public meeting in early January 1976, two resolutions were passed unanimously. These were that no more of the College Board members than necessary be removed and that Board members be elected rather than appointed by the Minister. (42) The Minister terminated the appointments of five of the six Board members, including the three he had initially wanted to remove. (43) Two of the Minister's appointments were individuals who either asked not to be appointed or were unavoidably unable to attend many Board meetings. (44) The Minister failed to use his discretion to validate the growing political self-confidence of northerners.

Demise of an Innovative Training Program: TOP

One of DNS's policy goals was to co-ordinate and integrate policy and program development. Policy integration and co-ordination were key elements that civil servants from the 1950s on believed formed the central administrative rationale for creating a single northern agency. The Training Opportunity Program (TOP) was an example of an integrated, coordinated program.

TOP was originally conceived and implemented by the Department of Continuing Education. The program provided all of the adult education requirements for people who had no previous experience with the world of wage employment, including employment orientation, counselling, academic upgrading and vocational training. Training was provided to participants while they worked on community enterprises which were intended to become permanent and viable. Thus the elements of human resource development, economic development and in some cases, natural resource development could all be combined in one program. (45)

The program seemed ideally suited as a development vehicle for DNS; on January 1, 1974 responsibility for the program in northern Saskatchewan was transferred to the Department. Almost immediately the program was earmarked for expansion. It appeared to be an ideal vehicle for the Department to sponsor innovative industrial projects which would process renewable resources already harvested in the north and retain value-added revenue for northern communities. At the same time it would develop employment, vocational and academic skills for those involved with the projects.

Unfortunately, the program was beset with problems very early in its implementation, and it became a fourth example of incrementalism succeeding over innovation. Since the Department had virtually no other economic development program functioning at the time, almost any project which employed more than a couple of people was considered for TOP funding. Program responsibility rested in the Colleges Branch, since individuals there had little prior experience with economic development projects, technical feasibility appraisals for the projects were virtually non-existent. Finally, many of the TOP projects were developed as co-operatives. While an admirable idea, co-operative organization required an additional element of expertise which the Economic Development Branch of the Department, though formally responsible, was either unable or unwilling to provide to TOP projects. (46)

After considerable feuding between the Colleges Branch and the Economic Development Branch over how to handle TOP projects, a Central Agency intervened to settle the issue permanently. The Budget Bureau review of the 1976-77 Colleges Branch budget was particularly critical, and the Training Opportunity Program was a prime target. The scathing analysis suggested:

It is clear . . . that the Branch is involved in what is intended to be economic development initiatives. Unfortunately, these initiatives have been taken in the past with extremely inadequate preparation and study. Consequently, the Department has bound itself to organizations initiated within constraints which give them no final prospect of viability. Furthermore, the concept of the program has proven to be extremely paternalistic. (47)

TOP projects were subsequently transferred to the Economic Development Branch, where they withered and died within a short period of time, at least partly because the Branch did not have the capacity to provide the support required by the projects.


These four examples illustrate how incremental forces triumphed over innovative forces. In fisheries policy development and implementation, the conflict between incrementalists and innovators led to a policy process largely unintelligible to the people being served. Decision-making was paralysed for a considerable period of time. When the incremental process finally prevailed, it marked the final demise of the innovative policy-making process originated in the Policy and Planning Branch. This case is a particularly clear demonstration of the outcome of the conflict between innovative and incremental approaches: the innovative fisheries development activities were the only activities which had been implemented as a result of policy development originating from the Policy and Planning Branch.

Northern economic development was a key policy area for the DNS, and it had an extremely high profile with the northern public. In spite of this prominence, the Department addressed this area with only one major program initiative. While it can be argued that other departmental programs contributed to economic development, the northern loan fund was the major initiative specifically targeted to improve the economic well-being of northerners and their communities. The Department never did develop a comprehensive, community-based economic development strategy. Nor were sectoral strategies ever developed, at least not in a way to which the northern public could react with approval or disagreement. The administrative problems which beset the loan program preoccupied the Department during its first years of operation, and by the time this program was brought under control, the entire focus for northern economic development strategies began to shift. After 1976, the uranium mine developments at Cluff Lake and Key Lake began to preoccupy departmental officials, as they wrestled with how the benefits of these developments could be maximized for northerners. Now the Department was reacting to developments outside its control and once again, the opportunity to develop uniquely northern strategies to improve the economic status of northerners was missed.

In the area of community colleges, the Department approached college development cautiously and defensively, with southern policies serving as guidelines. An innovative policy approach would have incorporated northern needs for technical trades and vocational training in some manner. During the entire Blakeney administration, an argument continued about where best to develop a technical trades and vocational training facility for northerners. The Blakeney government provided for a Northern Technical Institute in its 1982 budget, however its defeat led to compelling reasons to provide such services to northerners being ignored by the new government. Expanded facilities were developed in Prince Albert by transferring the northern funding allocation in the budget to the new Prince Albert Institute in the south.

Finally, the Training Opportunity Program represented another unique opportunity for the Department. All of the elements of human resource development, resource development, and economic development could be combined within one program designed to leave viable economic enterprises in northern communities. Unfortunately, the program also demonstrated that the Department's most obvious reason for existing, to ensure program co-ordination occurred, was not realized, at least in the case of this program.

Public Participation Confusion in Northern Policy-making

The issues surrounding public participation in policy-making were often confusing for both the Department and northern residents. Proposed regional councils provide one example of how the absence of innovative strategic planning led to unresolved confusion as late as 1981, nearly a decade after the Department's creation.

The 1971 NDP Convention, the 1971 Bowerman cabinet document and a 1973 Metis Society of Saskatchewan presentation to cabinet all called for northern regional councils. Representatives selected from those councils in turn were to form a northern territorial council with a crucial role in planning DNS policies and programming. Justice Bayda, Chair of the Cluff Lake Board of Inquiry, responded to recommendations from northern local governments and native organizations by calling for a Northern Development Board to give northerners a tool for determining their own destiny. Bayda also recommended revenue sharing with northern local governments.

In a 1980 White Paper entitled Options 80 and in a 1981 draft of a Proposed Northern Municipalities Act, the government suggested a new northern municipal structure. Options 80 proposed the kind of structure called for in the 1971 NDP election platform, the 1971 cabinet document, the 1971 NDP Policy Convention, the 1973 Metis Society presentation to cabinet and the 1979 Bayda Report. The Act was to be accompanied by a northern resource revenue-sharing municipal financing program that in its first five years would have allocated over $55 million. The structure, a late attempt by DNS to respond to suggestions which had been made for a decade, was initially criticized by northern local governments and by the Association of Metis and Non-Status Indians of Saskatchewan (A.M.N.S.I.S.). These organizations had developed a suspicion of government intentions in the north, and perceived these proposals as an attempt by the government to divide and conquer northern communities. After consultations throughout the north, the government announced in its 1982 budget speech that it would proceed with a new Northern Municipalities Act and revenue sharing.

Achievements and Positive Change

While by 1982 much remained to be done to bring conditions and opportunities to a level comparable to the rest of the province, significant progress could clearly be seen. Progress could be measured in terms of new facilities, programs and services available in northern communities. Of greater significance was progress made in beginning to reverse the patterns of colonialism which had been present in northern Saskatchewan.

Through individual, corporate, joint-venture and cooperative ownership, northern people were actively involved in providing commercial services. They were producing radio programs, operating day care centres, serving as health workers, supervising construction projects, working in uranium mines and mills, providing substance abuse treatment and actively participating in all aspects of northern society and northern development. Significant change did occur in the North; for example, over 10 years, the northern average annual wage increased 154%, i.e., over 15% per annum, while the welfare dependency rate had dropped from 47% of the population to 14%.

The Department had by 1982 accomplished much toward meeting its 1972 commitment to bring northern services to a level comparable to, if not identical with, services in the south. The single agency was far more effective than previous administrations had been in funnelling resources toward previously ignored aspects of northern development. Government had made a political commitment to development and all of the evidence certainly suggests that in terms of budget and staffing, this commitment was honoured. It is important to understand, however, that development was defined by the cabinet and the central agencies of government, rather than by the northern people the agency was trying to serve. Since no government agency anywhere permits its clients to decide policy content, DNS could only have reversed past colonial patterns by transferring at least some of its functions to northern-controlled structures.

Finally an Innovative Process: 1979-82

The creation of a single agency for the north signalled an intention by the Blakeney government to develop and implement an innovative development strategy in northern Saskatchewan. In the early stages of the new government's mandate, it was persuaded by line and central agency officials as well as suddenly cautious politicians to forego innovation and manage the single agency incrementally. After dismantling the Policy and Planning Branch of the Department, a few sporadic attempts were made to integrate innovative and incremental policy making, but by 1977, government had almost totally settled into an incremental policy approach.

A conclusion that innovation failed in the early and middle 1970s in the north is nonetheless compatible with recognizing the significant positive achievements which are the major legacy of the Department. Existing programs in infrastructure, housing, health, education, social services, local government, economic development, communications, transportation and community services development were implemented through familiar management processes. In most cases, the services were new to northern Saskatchewan, but were not new to the province. As well, the programs may have been slightly modified to suit northern circumstances, but the basic model for the programs was not changed: virtually no programs were zero-base designed to suit the unique and particular needs of northern residents. Though these programs have had a profound and lasting impact on northern Saskatchewan, the original vision of the Department as an innovative policy vehicle was never achieved. Another effort was, however, made.

By 1979 the Blakeney government had come to appreciate that the innovative process it turned away from in 1972 was still needed. A new minister, Jerry Hammersmith, appointed in June 18, 1979, supported by one of the government's senior deputy ministers, Ray Purdie, created this process, flowing from an innovative northern development strategy.

An innovative process for DNS was established through (i) the deliberate development, during late, 1979 and 1980, of a positive working relationship, based on mutual trust and respect, between DNS officials, on the one hand, and community local-government and education-system elected representatives, as well as community-based, elected Metis and First Nations representatives, on the other hand; and (ii) a deliberate attempt, by DNS officials, to replace the donor/recipient mode that had, prior to and during earlier DNS times, characterized public policy for the north and the relationship between provincial governments (of various political ideologies) and the people of the north. The old approach was to be replaced by the development of northern public policy, initiated and driven by northern people and communities, i.e., people taking charge of their own lives with DNS as a catalyst, assisting the provincial government to incorporate and support northern public policy as government policy for the north.

This process started with the development and support of local leadership, involved many, many meetings and informal decision-circles with elected local representatives and citizens in all northern communities. The White Paper Options 80 recognized that there was a need to get out of the way as people made their own choices. This white paper, was intended to have people select mechanisms to make and carry out their decisions. The results of other community meetings concerning in-school education, post-secondary education and training, health, social services, justice, economic development, employment, resource management and development and other areas, when taken in the context of the Options 80 meetings, made it clear that, while it was necessary for people to have the mechanisms in place to take charge of their own lives, the mechanisms would have to be funded appropriately in order to make the decisions effective.

The minister, as well as officials in the department, saw it as the department's job, in addition to acting as a catalyst for the development, by northerners, of northern public policy, to package the resultant policy in such a manner that; (i) departmental officials could successfully sell the policy to their colleagues in the central agencies of government, enabling (ii) their minister to sell it with his cabinet and caucus political colleagues, as well as with the Saskatchewan general public.

The government belatedly indicated, through its 1982 Budget's northern announcements, the political will to renew its 1971-72 commitments to innovation. The announcements were led by the intention to pass and implement an Act establishing Regional councils and a Northern Development Board, in addition to community-based local governments. The structure of local government was to be changed by creating a regional structure as well as a Northern Development Board. Municipal governments were to receive $6.5 million in additional funding, $1.2 million of which would go to regional governments and the Northern Development Board. This funding was to assist local governments in assuming jurisdiction over the Planning and Development Act and zoning in the N.A.D. Regional structures were to take over service delivery for those areas outside community boundaries throughout the N.A.D.

Government also announced in the 1982 Budget a new Northern Economic Development Foundation that would assist northerners in developing their own economic opportunities. Four million dollars was committed to the Foundation, with significant northern and native participation on its Board. In addition, funding was committed for a Northern Technical Institute to be located in the north.

Further evidence of a renewed government commitment to innovation is found in the 1982 DNS Futures Planning Process. This was a process designed to transfer many of the Department's service delivery functions and budgets to northern local and regional structures or to the Northern Development Board. Remaining provincial service delivery functions were to be systematically returned to southern line departments over ten years. True to its original intention, DNS would be dismantled. Government had reason to believe that the mandate of the Department to achieve government service delivery levels in the north which approximated those in the south had been or was nearly achieved by 1982.

All of the changes announced would have been institutionalized by the Blakeney government - however, both the budget and the process were subsequently gutted by the Tories, with the financial and human resources that had been committed to the north diverted to and institutionalized in the south.

After the Blakeney government, northern governments were not involved in the process and there was little devolution to them of service delivery. Municipal revenue sharing was dramatically cut back and a limited Local Government Act, dropping the proposed Regional Councils and Northern Development Board, was passed. The Northern Technical Institute proposal was abandoned and funding was rolled into increasing the size of the Prince Albert Technical Institute which had also been announced in the 1982 budget.

No more was heard of the proposed Northern Economic Development Foundation or Northern Development Board. The new government decided not to follow the systematic DNS Futures Planning Process for devolving authority to northern institutions and communities. The new administration appeared to be intent on distancing government from northern individuals, institutions and their communities. However, northern resources such as uranium and other minerals remain abundant and very attractive to exploit. The impetus behind such development is considerable, while northern individuals, communities and institutions are still only marginally involved.

The Blakeney government's original intentions and attempts to provide alternatives to such development had met with only marginal success and renewed commitments to innovation were lost in the 1982 electoral defeat to Grant Devine and the Progressive Conservative Party. Government's record from 1982 to 1991 has left the impression that the north will continue as an economically, culturally and politically marginalised hinterland to the south at least into the 21st century.

The Process

The Blakeney government dealt with the problems of northern Saskatchewan and developed its single agency through swift action without department-level strategic planning or adequate representative public participation. The challenges faced are outlined in Table 1. The process employed produced a new department without a strategic plan or a shared sense of mandate and lacking the developmental and consultative skills necessary to produce programs suitable to the needs of the north. The research and planning group was created separately and quickly, and became isolated from the department because of its inclusive and radical stance.

Table 1: Two Cultures at Logger-Heads

Process for Identifying Problem Definition of Northern Problem Implementers Structure Values
Group #1:

NDP meetings & conferences

Public service over many years
Lack of services

Lack of education

Lack of jobs

Lack of economic development
Experienced public servants transferred in from depts. of Natural Resources, Education, Health, Social Services, Municipal Affairs, Public

Service Commission and Finance.
Early establishment of an appointed, rather than elected, four-member

Northern Municipal Council to consult with northern communities & advise the Minister in the planning, establishment & development of the dept. Line branch
Self-determination, autonomy. Aboriginal people need to be cared for.
Group #2:

Community meetings.

Meetings with community developers.

Hiring community developers into DNS.
Inadequate northern input & consultation. Lack of means & opportunity for northerners to vet govt public policy decisions for the north. Decisions remained govt policy decisions for the north, rather than northern public policy decisions, made by northerners with the advice of govt, then adopted & mandated, as a result of discussions & negotiations, by the govt. New, young public servants Isolated staff branch Self-determination. Autonomy.

Table 2 describes the two cultures at logger-heads in DNS. The department ran into numerous problems developing functioning, let alone appropriate programs, but eventually, in the late1970s, developed a consultative process that produced a plan for local government, input and control. New skills were needed for this function, and were secured. The policies were approved by cabinet, but never implemented, so the department's capacity to implement them was not tested.

Table 2: Problem Analysis

Situation Result
Single agency is long-standing bureaucratic & political solution to problems of development & political representation in the north. Govt moves to immediate solution without adequate northern public representative involvement in process of identifying, owning and proposing solutions to the problem
Problem has not been clearly defined.

Involves: few northern representative institutions (political institutions)
Little representation of most people.
Poor education

- poor schools
- lack of training & training programs
- little post-secondary education available in north
- population is poorly educated
- few high school graduates & poor post-secondary retention
-high unemployment
Development is resource based - short-term jobs
- boom-bust economy
- northerners have little/no experience in mining
-employees are imported from elsewhere in Canada when development does occur - little northern development benefits northern people
- high unemployment


The New Democratic Party and the government had promised and made public commitments to innovation in northern policy-making, program development and service delivery, creating a public expectation for innovation in the north. While they made giant leaps forward in providing services in most program areas, these major accomplishments occurred largely through incremental change processes. Government-led change occurred mainly because of the sheer volume of resources expended by the public and private sectors. Perhaps because government had set such high original expectations for innovative policy development and implementation, there was a tendency to ignore the incremental achievements. They were very real and substantial, nonetheless.

In retrospect, is seems possible that a high profile, powerful, coordinating mechanism with authority to vet the northern policy development and programming of southern line departments could have been just as appropriate over time in allocating resources to northern development. The Northern Research and Development Authority which was originally proposed as the northern development mechanism, could have concentrated on involving northerners and their organizations in a policy-making partnership. Unquestionably such a policy making vehicle would have been fraught with difficulties. It can be argued that the forum for disagreements between those favouring innovative or incremental approaches would simply have moved to the cabinet table, rather than within the single agency.

Transferring some authority and responsibility for development decisions to a northern-controlled structure would have satisfied some public expectations and clearly would have represented an unprecedented policy innovation. It is also easy to understand the apprehension with which politicians and civil servants view such 'radical' suggestions. Major obstacles are instantly raised: the lack of administrative and political decision-making experience, the fear that major investors may avoid the area, and the fear that some resources may be unfairly and unwisely exploited for short-term benefits. The conflicting policy demands on government in deciding how best to approach northern development were substantial and alternative solutions, even in retrospect, were not obvious and without difficulty.

In reflecting on how innovation failed in northern policy development, several additional observations are possible. First, government-employed, white southerners clearly set the agenda for northern policy. The rather turbulent arguments about innovation versus incrementalism were fought out within the civil service for the most part. Northern organizations were largely marginal in these debates, and certainly did not force government's hand in any significant way.

This chapter has demonstrated that establishing innovation as an objective within the public service is not sufficient to guarantee its implementation. One necessary prerequisite is public involvement or at least the active involvement of the target or client group government is attempting to serve in a particular policy area. While some attempts were made to involve northerners in policy-making, these attempts resulted in confusion and frustration. There was no common understanding within the civil service, by politicians, northern interest groups and the northern public generally about the objectives and ground rules for public involvement. Without this commonly understood framework, disagreements quickly arose, and were often played out in the public arena. Perhaps the simple lesson for those interested in innovation in the public or private sectors is simply: People support what they help to create.

A second observation about innovation and incrementalism in the public service is that both administrators and politicians seem more skilled and definitely more comfortable with incrementalism. John Ralston Saul, in his book Voltaire's Bastards, identifies unelected senior civil servants as carrying the primary responsibility for the preponderance of incremental decision-making in government. Saul argues that senior technocrats in line and central agencies control information in a way that takes policy-making away from elected politicians.

An innovative, rational-comprehensive approach to policy-making gives great difficulty to most government managers with strong administrative backgrounds. Most government policy-making, then as now, was incremental in nature. Government policy-makers of that day, like the majority today, exhibit a resistance to long-term strategic planning. Their focus tends to be with how and at what cost policy will be achieved in the short-term, avoiding long-term discussion about the vision behind policy, the strategic manner in which policy will be achieved and how success will be measured.

A third general conclusion is that for innovation to occur in any institution, a general level of managerial and organizational competence must be present. Organizations, and people, must be able to walk before they can run. In the case of DNS, many of its most critical developmental work units clearly possessed less than a basic level of organizational competence. Very quickly, therefore, those with accountability for these work units were forced to change their focus from one of development to one of control. It seems apparent that in an environment where innovative approaches are required, adequate lead time for strategic planning, process development, and human resource development are prerequisites. The headlong rush to put visible efforts into place in northern Saskatchewan after 1972 likely condemned innovation to an early and inevitable death.

A fourth reflection is possible about the role of the service and control paradigms in public administration, particularly when government is confronted with a situation outside of its normal experience. These two paradigms are at the heart of much conflict within contemporary organizations. If service is the orientation, mountains can be moved in attempting to accomplish the objective of serving the customer more effectively. Innovation in particular can flourish and is highly valued within a service paradigm. If control is the paradigm, however, often all that can be seen is the obstacles, the reasons why something can not be done and why existing systems, processes, policies and procedures or minor modifications of these are the best way of getting things done. Politicians and civil servants tend to approach the work of public administration from rather different positions on the service and control continuum.

Elected politicians may come to the policy table with some ideas and sense of general direction for policy; they rarely come equipped with the hard data and a strong grasp of what government systems can realistically accomplish. The orientation of the politicians is towards both service and control of the political agenda: the orientation of senior civil servants is often more purely engaged by control of the public purse and of the administrative systems which make government work. Unfortunately, the service orientation of politicians is often not strongly enough rooted to overwhelm the control orientation of senior managers in the public service and both parties have an interest in control of the political agenda. Also, politicians by training may not be well skilled at implementing a service orientation. These skills, after all, predominate primarily in the private sector among entrepreneurs who simply will not survive if they can not create new ways of serving their customers successfully. It is a disturbing thought that when confronted by unique circumstances requiring nontraditional responses, the public service may be unable to serve because of the requirement to maintain control of administrative systems and the public purse.



  • Andrews, R. R. and England, R. E. September, 1973. "A Proposed Management System and Development Strategy for Northern Saskatchewan Fisheries". Submission prepared for the Policy and Planning Branch, DNS.
  • Bell, J. J.; Director, Northern Continuing Education Branch, Memo to G. R. Bowerman. "Rejuvenation of Board-La Ronge Community College. December 24, 1975.
  • Bell, J. J.; Director, Northern Continuing Education Branch, Memo to La Ronge Community College Board members. "Meeting on March 19, 1976 between Northern Continuing Education Branch and La Ronge Community College". March 22, 1976.
  • Blakeney, A. E. December 12, 1972. "Statement to Department of Northern Saskatchewan Staff Conference". Prince Albert.
  • Bowerman, G. R. September 30, 1971. "Principles for Northern Development", Memorandum to Cabinet.
  • Bowerman, G. R. Minister of Northern Saskatchewan Memo to J. W. Churchman, Deputy Minister. "Economic Development Loans and Grants". March 27, 1974.
  • Collier, K., January 8, 1975. "Village Bizarre", The Northerner. La Ronge.
  • Collier, K., January 28, 1976. "Village Controversy Boils as New Board Takes Office", The Northerner. La Ronge.
  • Couldwell, G. E.; Fisheries Director, Department of Natural Resources. "Policy Statement: Sport plus Commercial Fisheries". circa. 1972.
  • Dalby, R., January 6, 1976, Letter to G. R. Bowerman.
  • Drislane, R.; Budget Analyst, The Budget Bureau. "Training Opportunity Program", Budget Bureau evaluation of Colleges Branch 1976-77 Budget. December, 1975.
  • Hauck, R. 1981. The Policy-Making Process in the Department of Northern Saskatchewan, 1972-77. Unpublished Masters Thesis, Saskatoon: Economics and Political Science Department.
  • Government of Saskatchewan. October 12, 1971. Cabinet Minute No. 1310.
  • Government of Saskatchewan. 1961. The Report on the Organization for the Provision of Government Services for Northern Saskatchewan. Regina: The Budget Bureau.
  • Government of Saskatchewan. n.d. "Game Fish Tolerances". Statement from Resources Branch files. Prince Albert.
  • Government of Saskatchewan. May 1, 1974. "Policy Directive: Fishery Resource Utilization". Resources Branch, DNS.
  • Government of Saskatchewan. 1971. "Saskatchewan Community Colleges". Department of Continuing Education pamphlet.
  • Government of Saskatchewan. Department of Northern Saskatchewan Annual Report, 1972-73.
  • Government of Saskatchewan. Department of Northern Saskatchewan Annual Report, 1973-74.
  • Government of Saskatchewan. July 11, 1973. Saskatchewan Regulation 165\73, Saskatchewan Gazette 1973.
  • Government of Saskatchewan. October 3, 1973. Minutes of Meeting Number 2, Advisory Committee to the Northern Saskatchewan Fisheries Study. Buffalo Narrows.
  • Government of Saskatchewan. February 28, 1974. Press Release: "Fisheries Development Program Announced". Regina.
  • Government of Saskatchewan. 1973. Statutes of Saskatchewan, 21 Elizabeth II. C. 15
  • Government of Saskatchewan. December 16, 1975. Minutes of DNS Executive Committee.
  • Government of Saskatchewan. January 27, 1976. Order-in-Council 82\76.
  • Government of Saskatchewan. November 27, 1976. DNS Executive Committee Decision Sheet. "Fisheries Allocation".
  • MacMurchy, Gordon; Minister of Continuing Education, Letter to Norman A. McAuley, Chairman, La Ronge Region Community College. July 17, 1973.
  • Koshinsky, G., November 12, 1973. "Policy and Related Implications for Proposed Management System for Northern Saskatchewan Fisheries", Cabinet Planning Committee Paper.
  • Koshinsky, G., November 30, 1973. "Summary of a Proposed Management System and Development Strategy".
  • Kuhn, T. 1970. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • n.a. May 12, 1971. "Three More Added to Saskatchewan Cabinet", Regina Leader Post.
  • n.a. 1971. "NDP Northern Development Program", New Deal for People. Regina: Service Printing Co.
  • MacMurchy, Gordon; Minister of Continuing Education, Letter to G. R. Bowerman, Minister of Northern Saskatchewan. October 6, 1973.
  • McAuley, Norman A.; Chairman, La Ronge Region Community College, Letter to Gordon MacMurchy, Minister of Continuing Education. June 30, 1973.
  • Moxley, R.; Assistant Deputy Minister, Memo to J. J. Bell, Director, Northern Continuing Education Branch. "Branch Administration". July 5, 1976.
  • Moxley, R.; Assistant Deputy Minister, Memo to all Branch Heads and Economic Development staff. December 24, 1976.
  • Parsons, D. J.; Colleges Branch, "Department of Northern Saskatchewan and the Community Colleges Concept", Submission to D. F. MacArthur, Deputy Minister. January 2, 1975.
  • Saul, John Ralston. 1992. Voltaire's Bastards. The Dictatorship of Reason in the West. Toronto: Penguin Books
  • Wouters, Gary; Program Consultant, Policy and Planning Branch, DNS Memo to Ed Breese, Director of Colleges Branch, "Philosophy of the Community Colleges for the North". January 4, 1973.

List of Interviews

By Bob Hauck with:

  • Bell, J. J.; Northern Continuing Education Branch Director. June 7, 1977.
  • Bowerman, G. R.; Minister of Northern Saskatchewan. July 13, 1977.
  • Clouthier, J.; Resource Management Division Director. February 17, 1977.
  • Edwards, P.; Fisheries Management employee. February 18, 1977.
  • Feaver, C. Fisheries Development Unit employee. March 8, 1978.
  • Gracie, J. La Ronge Community College Board member. June 2, 1977.
  • Hammersmith, Jerry; former DNS employee. May 16, 1977.
  • Piper, J.; Fisheries Development Unit employee. June 8, 1977.
  • Stobbe, J.; former Principal, La Ronge Community College. May 22, 1977.
  • Towill, A. C.; Special Assistant to the Deputy Minister. June 10, 1977.
  • Walton. D.; Fisheries Management employee. February 18, 1977.

By Jerry Hammersmith with:

  • Blakeney, A. E.; former Premier of Saskatchewan. June 2, 1993.
  • Bowerman, G. R.; former Minister of Northern Saskatchewan. May 26, 1993.
  • Saddlemeyer, K.; former Cabinet Secretary. May 31, 1993



1. Hauck, op.cit. pp.21-22, identifies a values clarification process as a central starting point for innovative policy development. Once values have been clarified and ranked in importance, then alternative policy choices can be generated, ranked and selected on the basis of their connection to the fundamental values preferred by policy makers. This policy-making model is often described as a rational-comprehensive model.

2. Kuhn argued that our theories, like our values and assumptions, while they help us to understand our world, can also prevent us from seeing data which would tend to make us rethink our theories. Kuhn pointed out there can be overwhelming data that a particular theory is no longer correct, yet many scientists will actually discount or disregard the data. The Copernican\Galilean revolutionary view of the relationship between sun and earth is of course the primary example of such a scientific revolution.

3. Budget Bureau, "Report on the Organization for the Provision of Government Services for Northern Saskatchewan", Appendix A, March, 1961.

4. G. R. Bowerman Memo to Cabinet, September 30, 1971, pp. 1-2.

5. New Deal for People, "NDP Northern Development Program", 1971.

6. G. R. Bowerman, op.cit., p. 7.

7. Cabinet Minute No. 1310, October 12, 1971, p. 1.

8. G. R. Bowerman, op. cit., p. 4.

9. Statement by A. E. Blakeney to Department of Northern Saskatchewan Staff Conference, Prince Albert, December 12, 1972.

10. Interviews with Jerry Hammersmith and with A. C. Towill, 1977.

11. Interview with Keith Saddlemeyer, 1993.

12. Interview with Allan Blakeney, 1993.

13. Interview with Bowerman, 1993.

14. Interviews with Hammersmith and Towill, 1977 and with G. R. Bowerman, 1977 and "Three More Added to Saskatchewan Cabinet," Regina Leader Post, May 12,1971, p. 2.

15. making clear the core values and goals which northerners hold for their own communities and for generations to come

16. identifying the specific role of the department in assisting northerners to realize specific aspects of their vision

17. Interview with Blakeney, 1993.

18. Interview with Blakeney, 1993.

19. Department of Northern Saskatchewan Annual Report, 1972-73, pp. 8-9.

20. Resources Branch statement, n.d. pp. 1-2; Couldwell Statement, circa. 1972; and DNS Policy Directive, May 1, 1974, p. 1.

21. Koshinsky Paper, November 12, 1973.

22. Government of Saskatchewan press release, Regina, February 28, 1974.

23. Koshinsky memo, November 30, 1973.

24. Andrews and England Paper, September, 1973 and interviews with Piper and Koshinsky, 1977.

25. Interviews with Clouthier, Edwards and Walton, 1977.

26. Advisory Committee to the Northern Saskatchewan Fisheries Study Minutes, October 3, 1973, and interview with Feaver, 1978.

27. Interviews with Clouthier, Walton and Edwards, op. cit.

28. DNS Executive Committee Decision Sheet, November 27, 1976, p. 3.

29. Saskatchewan Regulation 165/73, Saskatchewan Gazette 1973, p. 280.

30. Hauck, op. cit., pp. 130-133.

31. Bowerman memo to Churchman, March 27, 1974.

32. Hauck, op. cit., pp. 133-137.

33. Moxley memo to all Branch Heads and all Economic Development staff, December 24, 1976.

34. Department of Continuing Education pamphlet, "Saskatchewan Community Colleges", circa. 1971, and Wouters memo to Breese, January 4, 1973.

35. Department of Northern Saskatchewan Annual Report, 1973-74, p. 27.

36. McAuley letter to MacMurchy, June 30, 1973 and reply, July 17, 1973.

37. MacMurchy letter to Bowerman, October 6, 1973, p. 2.

38. Parsons submission to MacArthur, January 2, 1975, p. 2 and J. J. Bell memo to La Ronge Community College Board members, March 22, 1976.

39. Submission from Parsons to MacArthur, Ibid.; DNS Executive Committee meeting minutes, December 16, 1975; R. Moxley memo to J. J. Bell, 1976.

40. Statutes of Saskatchewan, 21 Elizabeth II,1973.

41. Interviews with J. J. Bell, Jill Gracie, John Stobbe, 1977 and Ken Collier, "Village Bizarre," The Northerner January 8, 1975; and "Village Controversy Boils as New Board Takes Office," The Northerner, January 28, 1976.

42. Dalby letter to Bowerman, January 6, 1976.

43. Order-in-Council 82\76, January 27, 1976.

44. J. J. Bell memo to Bowerman, December 24, 1975.

45. Hauck, op. cit., pp. 160-162.

46. Hauck, Ibid, pp. 162-167.

47. Drislane evaluation, December, 1975, p.2.


Published (May - August), 2000

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