An article this week in Canada’s ‘Globe and Mail’ by Mel Cappe, president of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, sets out the case for better information and analysis in a world where public policy problems are becoming increasingly complex. He writes:
“The importance of ideas and analysis has never been greater. How should we present complex issues for elected officials, mere mortals all, to come to grips with? Simplification can be trivializing, and it misses the subtlety in both challenges and solutions. The answer lies in building evidence and expertise into the process.
“We need a robust supply of analysis and evidence. There has always been a strong analytic capacity in Canada’s public service; the experts and scientists are first class. It used to be they had a privileged position from which to advise. Political parties had robust research branches and were the source of creative policy ideas. Now, moribund, they focus on partisan issues for Question Period and on finding scandal rather than addressing public policy challenges.”