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PPG2021H: Priority Topics in Public Administration “Vision for a Nation: Half a century beyond the last good year”

Course Description

Special Intensive course for Fall 2017 “Vision for a Nation: Half a century beyond the last good year”

Journalist and cultural historian Pierre Berton wrote of Canada’s centennial 50 years ago, “1967 was the last good year before all Canadians began to be concerned about the future of their country.” This course begins by capturing a portrait of the soul, the mood and the policy vision of Canada at the 100th anniversary of its official founding and explores what is happening to that portrait half a century later as one seminal generation gives way to another – the psychedelic boomers to the digital millennials. Through an intensive first week, we’ll explore what was on the policy agenda and what was left off for a country in love with itself in 1967 and what that agenda should look like in 2017. The week will end with an invitation to the class to consider the huge challenges facing Canada today and consider policy responses for the country’s next 50 years.

Monday, Sept. 18 (2-hours in class): What the nation looked like in 1967: white, wealthy, Anglo-dominated, a median age of 26 and a centennial euphoria except for hidden Indigenous people and the shadow of separatist terrorist bombs in Quebec. No one talked about multiculturalism.
Tuesday, Sept. 19 (2-hours in class):  The impact of the baby boomers, the generational cultural and political shift in the country, the government’s response and what Canadians thought of their state.
Wednesday, Sept. 20 (2-hours in class): The Canadian economy, the still-Keynesian consensus, every provincial government except NL in surplus and the federal government posting its 10th-straight deficit with confidence that prosperity eventually would pull public finances into the black.
Thursday, Sept. 21 (2-hours in class): What the nation looks like in 2017. The median age is 44. The nature of today’s Canadian collectivity is vague. The state of our economic and political optimism and confidence is uncertain.  The proportion of Canadians self-identifying as middle class has dramatically shrunk since the start of the 21st century. Indigenous people insist on a new narrative. Multiculturalism or interculturalism has become part of Canadian identity but we’re no longer sure what it means. Quite possibly we’re no longer in love with ourselves.
Friday, Sept. 22 (2-hours in class): What is a visionary policy agenda for the next 50 years?

First assignment: At the end of this first week, students will write a shot paper (~8 to 10 pages) identifying the characteristics of transformative policy and identifying which policies were transformative.

In the following few weeks, students will be assigned a number of readings and books concerning the current state of the Canadian economy and politics and possible trajectories for Canada and the world over the next 50 years. When the class next reconvenes with Prof. Loewen, they will have identified a policy area – broadly conceived – which they believe will be transformative over the next 50 years.

Over four (3-hour in class) meetings, on Oct. 10 , 12, 17 and 19 (5.30-8.30pm), they will assign to their classmates readings on their policy area of interest and will lead (or co-lead) a seminar on that topic. At the same time, they will draft a 15-20 page paper – targeted at an informed policy audience – on why this policy area will be transformative over the next 50 years. These papers will ultimately be presented around the SPPG Canada 150 conference to be held in November 2017.

Fall (2nd year)

P. Loewen with TBA