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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
July 3, 2015
Canadian Excellence


Simon Kiss

Managed Participation

Responding To – And Subverting – Demands For Transparency AndParticipation
Simon J. Kiss

published: 2013 | Research publication | Government Communications

The increased importance of strategic, professional communications within Canadianpublic administration has been attributed to a variety of forces including a more difficultpolitical economy necessitating retrenchment, social changes bringing about changedrelationships between citizens and the state and the increased importance of persuasion asa policy tool. This essay examines the rise of more strategic, professional and politicallysensitive communications within the Government of Alberta to make the case that citizendemands for transparency and participation are also reasons for the increased importanceof strategic government communications. Accommodating these demands in the contextof a traditional representative democracy necessitates politically sensitive staff who canmanage processes without jeopardizing the government’s reelection or policy agenda. Thisargument is made by drawing on new analyses of budget documents, elite interviews andthe archives of premiers Getty and Klein. Given Alberta’s role as a model for otherCanadian jurisdictions, this causal path has relevance beyond the province

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revised Jul 2/13

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