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Seminar with Dr. Jonathan Craft

We recently enjoyed having a seminar discussion with Dr. Jonathan Craft. Dr. Craft is an Associate Professor with the Department of Political Science and the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. He also previously worked as a federal public servant and a Legislative Assistant at the Ontario Legislature.

During our discussion, we talked about the importance of sound policy advice and how it is increasingly contested. There are multiple competing sources of policy advice that governments consult to make decisions. Over the past few decades, there has been a considerable growth in the number of political staff, especially in ministers’ offices, and consultants are playing a greater role in providing policy advice. This is on top of the public service, which was previously the main source of this knowledge.

We also talked about the difference between government and governance whilst emphasizing the need for decision-makers to balance diverse interests. To this end, it was interesting to consider that academia is now taking into consideration and broader range of actors that influence and participate in the policy decision-making process. Overall, the session helped us gain a greater appreciation of the behind-the-scenes from a theoretical perspective. In this sense, it was interesting to measure our own experiences at the Ontario Legislature against what is currently being written about in academia.

We sincerely thank Dr. Craft for taking the time to meet with us and sharing his research. We also look forward to keeping up with Dr. Craft’s upcoming projects on the intersections of technology and policy-making.

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