Reform of First Nations Water Provision

… a case in ADMN470 Reforming Government

Swain and Clark

Background for Professor Lindquist’s discussion with Harry Swain and Ian Clark on 10 January 2020

Why First Nations water provision is such an interesting case study for reforming government

It is one of those rare public management issues where:

1) the outcome can be objectively measured, and

2) there is almost universal consensus on the utility of the outcome.

In addition,

3) the outcome is measured regularly by a credible third party,

4) there is an unambiguous and public measurement result (Yes or No for declaring a boil water advisory), and

5) solving the problem in a way that will stick may require “deep policy reform” (see Deep Policy Reform vs. Normal Policy Making).

Current situation

Indigenous Services website: Ending long-term drinking water advisories and Water in First Nation communities

Top 30 concepts for this discussion
(selected from Atlas Concept Table for ADMN470 Reforming Government)




Incentives and Introduction to Economics

Principal-Agent Problem

Unintended Consequences

Public Choice Theory

Competing Values in Governance and Institutions

Pendulum Metaphor

Teamwork and Tribal Instincts

Human Capital


Centre vs. Periphery

Guardians vs. Spenders

Staff vs. Line Positions

Quality Service and Service Standards

Performance Measurement

Performance Reporting

Performance Audit

Misconduct vs. Deficiency

Internal Auditing

External Audit


Deep Policy Reform vs. Normal Policy Making

Change Management

Allison’s Three Models of Government Action

Moore’s Operational Capacity Perspective

Events, Dear Boy, Events

UK Civil Service Leadership Statement

Williams’ Real vs Counterfeit Leadership

Not-Invented-Here (NIH) Syndrome

Dealing with Difficult People

People willing to respond to ADMN students

In addition to UVic adjunct professors, Ian Clark and Harry Swain, the following individuals with experience in reforming government have expressed a willingness to respond to inquiries from students in ADMN470 on matters that may be relevant to their reform projects. Please arrange telephone conversations in advance through their email contacts listed on the links below.

Mel Cappe, Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, and former Clerk of the Privy Council.

James Mitchell, Senior Fellow at University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, Chair of the Audit Committee for Health Canada and former Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Machinery of Government.

Kim Scott, Principal, Kishk Anaquot Health Research and AKI Resources, Co-Chair of the Indigenous Clean Energy Social Entreprise, and advisor at Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg (First Nation).

Anne Scotton, Regional Director General, Ontario Region, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

Selected references
On drinking water

Report of the Walkerton Inquiry – Events of May 2000 and Related Issues (2002)

Report of the Expert Panel on Safe Drinking Water for First Nations (2006)

INAC Audit and Evaluation Committees (2007-2015) – e.g., Summative Evaluation of the First Nations Water Management Strategy and Evaluation of the First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan

First Nations Drinking Water case in Toronto PPG1007 (2018)


On reforming government

Leslie Pal and Ian Clark (2015), Making reform stick: Political acumen as an element of political capacity for policy change and innovation, Policy and Society, Volume 34, Issues 3-4, September – December 2015, pp 247-257. See summary at Deep Policy Reform vs. Normal Policy Making.

Ian Clark and Harry Swain (2015), Program Evaluation and Aboriginal Affairs: A History and a Thought Experiment in A Subtle Balance: Expertise, Evidence, and Democracy in Policy and Governance, 1960-2010, McGill-Queens University Press, 2015.

Ian Clark and Harry Swain (2005), Distinguishing the real from the surreal in management reform: suggestions for beleaguered administrators in the government of Canada, Canadian Public Administration, Winter 2005, Vol. 48, No. 4, pp. 453-476.

Articles by John Edwards, Ian Clark, and Peter Aucoin (2001) in Public Service Reform: Progress, Setbacks and Challenges, Office of the Auditor General, Ottawa, February 2001.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 10 January 2020.