Canadian Public Policy Creation Influences Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Public policy development is a complex process involving multiple stakeholders and institutions. Moreover, the nature of public policy development varies depending on whether the policies are foreign or domestic. Holloway (2006) points out the three key influences on foreign policy in Canada, including information coming from foreign embassies with direct access to international issues and affairs. Other influences on foreign policy include formal analysis, which often takes place domestically. Finally, bureaucratic machines regulate messages incoming to government offices (Holloway, 2006). Yet the influences on Canadian domestic policy include ancillary issues ranging from shifts in social norms and values to recent judicial action. For example, Pal (2013) points out the role of both the courts and public opinion on the legalization of same-sex marriage. The three most important influences on Canadian public policy in general include public opinion (expressed in terms of values and norms), the courts (expressed through judicial action), and the multiple stakeholders in international affairs.

Canadian participation in global economic and regulatory policy warrants occasional shifts in public policy that might run contrary to public opinion. For instance, pressure to boost Canadian economic growth often outweighs the pressure placed on policymakers to preserve environmental integrity or ascription to international climate change protocols. Public policy is frequently a balancing act, as analysts and lawmakers alike weigh the interests of financial growth and long-term economic development against the temporary philosophical and ideological demands of voters. When policy is influenced by foreign players, ranging from private sector multinational corporations to the governments of allied nations, influences on public policy become even more complex.

Public opinion has a strong bearing on public policy in Canada, but it may take generations for public opinion to actually shift policy. Polling is one way to influence policy decisions, as "almost everything in policy analysis is affected by values" (Pal, 2013, p. 3). If polling reveals subtle or overt changes in attitudes toward specific issues ranging from taxation to drug legalization, then the seeds of policy analysis have been planted. Analysts would then conduct research on the topics at hand to ascertain their feasibility in policy. Policy is rarely rooted in whim, though, and requires close attention to the long-range goals of Canadians. Participation in the global economy and Canada's relationship with other nations might also impact the balance between prevailing public opinion and the opinions of Canada's leading partners.

Court influences on policy in Canada…

Sources Used in Document:


Holloway, S.K. (2006). Canadian Foreign Policy. Peterborough: Broadview.

Pal, L.A. (2013). Beyond Policy Analysis. Nelson.

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