Policy Briefs

Why Government Projects Go Over Budget...And What To Do About It
Most projects go over-budget because there are fundamental assumptions in the early planning that turn out to be wrong. By the time they are discovered (or admitted to) they are hard and expensive to fix.  Often the fixes are as inept as the initial decisions and higher costs ensure. This becomes a financial and budgetary problem for the department and a political problem for the Government. Sorting out the management problem within the public service  is a Herculean task.  Reducing the political risk by a more honest reporting of the potential costs and risks to Parliament can be done. This paper explains how!

Willful Blindness in Federal Budget-Making
The Federal Government has been on the debt track for most of the last 50 years. It is the inevitable consequence of a willful blindness built in the budget-making process coupled with a facility for ignoring the accumulating evidence.

Case Study: The National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy
Hillwatch was retained by Irving Shipbuilding Inc. (ISI) in November 2006 to assist with on-going issues related to the submarine retrofit contracts and frigate modernization, and to assist with possible bids on the Joint Supply Ships, the Coast Guard Patrol Vessels and the procurement of naval patrol vessels. The assignment was clear - assist ISI with winning competitive tenders. The fact that most of our time would be devoted to building support for NSPS was not anticipated when first retained by Irving

Reforming Canadian Environmental Protection Act
Hillwatch Principal Michael Teeter appeared four times before the House of Commons Environment and Sustainable Development Committee on the CEPA (Canadian Environmental Protection Act) both on behalf of clients and as an expert witness in his own right. Here is an excerpt of his testimony on December 12, 2006 that captures the key points he made before the committee.

Fixing the Canadian Environmental Protection Act
Hillwatch Principal, Mike Teeter, recently appeared before a House of Commons Committee as an expert witness on how to improve the working of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act

Reforming Government Purchasing
Canadian Apparel Magazine recently published an detailed opinion piece by Hillwatch Principal Michael Teeter on why the apparelel industry needs to take action now to reform Government Procurement

Still Virtually Lawn Signs: Benchmarking Canadian Political Web Sites During the 2006 Election
For this election, we updated our benchmarks of the Canadian political party web sites to evaluate their evolution from 18 months ago. Canadian party web sites deserve credit for significant improvements, however, they continue to be very much like lawn signs. They still inform, but don’t engage.

Resolving the Stigma Problems in CEPA
Canada’s Environmental Protection Act quickly revealed serious flaws since enacted over five years ago. Hillwatch Principal Michael Teeter, an expert on the Act, has developed a discussion paper for both Government and Industry consideration suggesting options to reform and improve the Act.

Political Web Sites: Strategic Assets or Virtual Lawn Signs?
In the current 2004 electoral cycle, Canadian Web Sites are behind the curve relative to their US counterparts. They fail to reach out and engage their supporters and voters with the same effort and commitment. See Hillwatch's major benchmarking study comparing the main Canadian political party sites to John Kerry's and George Bush's sites.

The Implementation of Canadian Environmental Protection Act: Why Industry should care!
The new Canadian Environmental Protection Act still has bugs to work out. As the Act’s long tentacles wrap around successive end products and inputs, the lack of balance and serious flaws with due process under this new Act will become a growing concern.

Campaigning Through Technology: New Zealand and UK Case Studies
Courtesy of the UK Political Marketing Newsletter, Hillwatch has two first-person accounts from opposite sides of the globe on how the Internet is being used by smaller political parties to get out their message and support the activities of party members.

The Internet, Transparency & Public Advocacy
Internet, transparence et défense d’intérêts publics
The Internet is opening the public advocacy process by becoming the “pre-digestion’ chamber where public policy ideas are introduced, accessed, advocated, promoted, and debated on-line before they flow into the more formal channels of official policy making.

Regulations: More or Less?
Regulations are government embedding and marbling its way into and out of successive layers of societal activity. It is government deconstructing, rebuilding, renovating and redefining itself a little each day. The regulatory machinery may move a little faster or a little slower, but like rust, it never sleeps.

Deputy Ministers
For someone in the business world, think of the Deputy Minister as the president and CEO of the corporation. The Minister is the Chairman of the Board and answers to the stockholders, the voters. His Cabinet colleagues are, in effect, the Directors. And, as the CEO, the Deputy delivers the goods and runs the company. Often it is a seven day a week, 14 hours a day job.

Chosen Instruments
Chosen Instruments are private sectors companies in Canada who enjoy the status of quasi-crown corporations. By blending their private interests with the public interest, they are seen by generations of government officials as instruments of the national interest. Because these companies support the “national interest”, the government goes out of its way to support these companies and their interests.

Canada – US Relations: The Road Not Taken
The similarities of the two cultures can create a false sense of security when politics intrude. Shaped by many of the same environmental, social and political factors, Canada and the United States represent both common and different political traditions. Canada is the other, less well-known, North American political model. For an American, Canada might be viewed as "the road not taken".

The Campaign Against International Political Corruption
Until very recently, political corruption has been a taboo topic internationally. Its untouchable status has been lifted. Combating political corruption is showing up on international agendas around the world and the rules of international business are quietly starting to shift.

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