Introducing Inroads 31.

Author:Chodos, Bob
Position:Governance - Editorial

My 1965 edition of Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage has an entry for governance: "governance has now the dignity of archaism, its work being done, except in rhetorical and solemn contexts, by government and control." The venerable reference book's conviction that governance had passed into obsolescence proved premature. It turned out that there was a job that was not adequately performed by either of the alternative words Fowler evoked, or by related ones such as politics or administration, and so governance has enjoyed a remarkable revival. In this issue of Inroads, it's front and centre.

Undoubtedly the most urgent issues of governance in Canada today concern Aboriginal people. Two linked articles examine some of these issues. John Graham casts a spotlight on 11 features of First Nation governance that, in combination, act as "a significant brake on achieving better results for First Nation communities." Joseph Quesnel takes a close look at one particular First Nation, the Nisga'a of northwestern British Columbia, who in 1998 signed a treaty that granted them effective self-government. How has that worked out? Quesnel finds "very compelling evidence for improvements in various areas under self-government," but warns against thinking of self-government as a "silver bullet."

Questions of First Nation governance are raised by David Adams Richards in his 2011 novel Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul in a very different way- through a murder mystery. We present two reviews of Richards's novel--by Joseph Quesnel, who pays particular attention to governance questions, and by Nicole O'Byrne, who looks at more universal themes.

When elections for a supposedly democratic body attract only 8 per cent of the electorate, as happened in the last two provincewide school board elections in Quebec, there is a problem of governance. Laurence Behrer looks at this problem and finds a possible solution in the concept of participatory budgeting--and especially the way that concept is applied to high schools in France's Poitou-Charentes region.

Former Liberal Leader Stephane Dion looks into another question of governance: the proper role and composition of the Canadian Senate. While the Senate is often criticized, Dion finds that the reform legislation the Conservative government has introduced would make things a lot worse.

Also in this issue:

* Hicham Raiq, Paul Bernard and Axel van den Berg continue Inroads' ongoing discussion of Quebec's economy and social...

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