In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Donner Prize, which recognizes books on public policy by Canadian authors, the Donner Canadian Foundation has increased the grand prize by $10,000 to $60,000. The Globe and Mail asked each of this year’s five shortlisted authors to choose one person in a position to influence public policy they’d most like to read their book. The award will be presented at a gala dinner in Toronto on.
Joseph Heath: Cooperation and Social Justice (University of Toronto Press)
Forced to choose just one, I suppose I would pick Christiane Fox, the Deputy Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. The reason is that, of all the policy choices being made in Canada right now, I think the decisions around immigration are the most consequential, to the point where they wind up driving policy in many other areas. And yet I worry that the government does not have a clear idea of what it is trying to accomplish on this file, but is merely using it to score political points. The civil service would benefit from having a firm understanding of where the public good lies in this domain.
Ryan Manucha: Booze, Cigarettes and Constitutional Dust-Ups: Canada’s Quest for Interprovincial Free Trade (McGill-Queen’s University Press)
Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs of Canada. Amidst a postpandemic recession complicated by global polarization, isolationism and destructive inflation, internal trade barriers deserve renewed focus. This book shows Minister LeBlanc that loosening barriers between Canada’s provinces and territories is the biggest hurdle to liberalized, GDP-boosting interprovincial trade. He is uniquely positioned to broker compromises that could bolster national growth by an estimated 7.9 per cent, and the book even offers a road map.
John Lorinc: Dream States – Smart Cities, Technology, and the Pursuit of Urban Utopias (Coach House Books)
My hope is that all big city mayors in Canada read Dream States, and spend some time pondering how these technologies could help or harm their communities. My research showed that municipal governments were often at the front lines of the smart city revolution, and so these institutions are tasked with determining how new, powerful and largely unproven technologies will impact residents, public spaces, the built environment and so on. While smart city tech touches all sorts of policy domains – privacy, security, infrastructure investment, et cetera – mayors have a singular vantage point, and need to understand both the power of these technologies and the role of local government in keeping them in check.
Stephen Poloz: The Next Age of Uncertainty – How the World Can Adapt to a Riskier Future (Allen Lane Canada)
I would like Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario, to read my book. My preference for starting there builds on a core principle of continuous improvement: Start with something significant but manageable to achieve an early win, and then build momentum from there. My many years in Ottawa have taught me that good ideas too often founder, either because they are politically challenging to deliver or because they elicit opposition from the provinces. Were the premier of our largest province persuaded by my vision of the future, they would have both the inclination and the political ability to act on it. Other provincial and territorial leaders would then see the advantages of copying Ontario, and then the federal government could align its policies with the new provincial regime with little opposition.
Kent Roach: Canadian Policing – Why and How It Must Change (Delve Books)
I would like my book to be read by all government ministers, police boards and local elected councils with responsibilities for community safety. I know this is more than one person. Such extended buy-in is, however, necessary to respond to the fragmented nature of Canada’s local, provincial and national policing. It is also necessary if the police are to work more effectively with all public and community agencies that have responsibility for community safety. There is no one single blueprint for better policing that could be implemented by one wise person. Rather, there is a need for those who are politically responsible for governing public policing to take their responsibilities seriously.