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Policy Communitie1.docx

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Political Science
David Pond

Policy Communities: the policy community is the set of government agencies, advocacy groups, businesses, institutions, media and individuals with an interest in a particular policy field & which try to influence it. routine policy-making is made in the interaction between the bureaucracy and its policy community. If you’re a minister of health, the policy will be everyone in the country has impute in the policy (people, drug companies, doctors) bureaucrats who run these administrations are interacting with these players in the policy community. Two parts insiders: sub government: lead government agency or branch responsible for the policy, other policy-making agencies in the government & a small group of elite interest groups that are consulted regularly. Outsiders: attentive public, members of the policy community who watch the development of a policy closely, may or may not be consulted by the lead government agency. They aren’t privileged. Example: academic expert on policy, who is not consulted regularly and does not get inside briefing of what the minister is considering, but may be drawn in when required. Example: Lead Ministry = Health, Interested Groups- insiders (subgovernment) professional association such as Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Hospital Association, Canadian Public Health Association. The policy community may be reconstituted differently for every issue, some issues will pull particular participants closer to the inner circle. If Ottawa wants to intervene directly in an issue where jurisdiction is shared with a province, then key provincial governments move closer to the center. Example: Climate Change, governments of Alberta/Saskatachewan would be consulted (oil and gas industry). Foreign Policy issues, foreign governments would move closer to the center, Afghan war department of defense consults the Pentagon, a foreign government agency (Pentagon) moves closer to the center. Why do Governments pay attention to interest groups? 1) interest groups articulate for the government what the Canadians are thinking about a particular issue, depending on the issue, governments need to know how what the key players think about a possible policy initiative. Example Bankers: Canadian Bankers Association only represents a small number of members (banks) but what they think about inflation is important. But if the government wants to know how many Canadians are outrage by high credit card interest rates, it will commission a poll, consult with an interest group with a large membership base such as Consumers Association of Canada. Chemistry: Chemistry Industry Association of Canada represents just over 50 companies, makes almost $50 billion in shipments, employs 80,000 people directly and 300,000 indirectly. Ottawa will listen carefully to what this industry has to say about the regulation of chemicals. But if the government wants to know whether Canadians are worried about safety of cosumer products made from synthetic materials, more likely to commission a poll, or check with a group such as Consumers Association of Canada.2) interest groups can provide expert advice and information, government does not always have monopoly of expertise. Bureaucrats will consult interest groups with expertise in relevant policy field example Ontario’s Narcotics Strategy reduce growing number of abuse of prescription substances, in developing this strategy the ministry established a Narcotics Advisory Panel which is a panel of experts that provided advice to the ministry on the issue of inappropriate use of prescription drugs. The ministry has also consulted with stakeholders including health profession regulatory colleges, first nations, family members who have lost children to narcotic overdose, law enforcement and other ministers. Policy community, subgovernments, cant afford to alienate experts, Assistant Deputy Minister, 3 levels down, her job to keep track and help them understand what government works, don’t make bad advice, ministers will wanna take credit for this saying they got advice from experts, legitimize it. Lake Simcoe: largest inland lake in Ontario, fishery contributes 200 million to provincial economy, environmental stress: water run off containing chemicals, newly introduced species zebra mussles that compromise the condition, loss of natural areas. June 2009 McGunity government introduced Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, reduces amount of chemicals dumped in lake to 44 tonnes from 67 tonnes a year. These chemicals came from sewage treatment plants, watershe runoff, plan protects key ground water, natural heritage, who helped draft this plan? Lake Simcoe Science Advisory Committee: current members, voluntary. High profile, 7-8 seats in Simcoe all conservative, Mcguinty introduced plan, part of subgovernment to write policy, now you have to sell this to your clleagues, people get sucked into it when its over. Beucrats sit in to make sure they stay on topic. Lake Simcoe Science Advisory Committee was appointed in March 2008 to advise the government how best to protect it, normally these experts would only be members of the attentive public, of this particular policy community. But for this purpose, they got drawn into the subgovernment. Role of interest groups 3) Legitimation: interest groups who are involved in the making of policy are counted on to explain the policy to their members, mobilize support for it among their members, and help publicize the merits of the policy to the general public – sell it to public, politicians sell it to media, give a quote to the media, endorse it as good strategy, praising own work, want policy to work well. (comments he showed regarding narcotic strategy lec 5 pg. 15) – all of the above are prominent members of the subgovernment of this policy community or members of the attentive public who can expect to be called upon from time to time. 2 were members of the panel. Simcoe “drawing on expert advice from scientist” notice framing- our plan is good because of the experts helped us write it. the plan sets a new standard for environmental protection in the province and provides a roa
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