Tag Archive

The Open Policy Aptitude Test

Published on February 4, 2016 By johnastapleton

The following policy aptitude test is administered on occasion to policy classes I attend at various levels. Many classes have scored 0 out of 20 and then missed all the tiebreakers. I don’t get asked to address many classes.   Spell Westminster (question issued orally)   Common reply puts in an extra ‘i’   What […]

Doing social policy: The 10 elements

Published on March 29, 2014 By johnastapleton

 Here is  a PDF of the ten elements of social policy advocacy that will connect with the public. It is a simple checklist based on John Kenneth Galbraith’s 4 part concept of the conventional wisdom and Jonathan Haidt’s 6 elements of the moral palette. Only Gandhi and Mandela have promoted movements that touch on all ten.

The rise and fall of welfare analysis in Canada

Published on February 21, 2014 By johnastapleton

As a lifelong student of social assistance caseloads in Canada, I looked forward to The Rise and Fall of Social Assistance Use in Canada, 1969-2012 by Ron Kneebone and Katherine White. My interest became even more avid when I read that the authors had cited some my data to come to their conclusions. The report […]

When zero-tolerance prevails: very fast drivers, three Senators, and Toronto’s mayor

Published on November 17, 2013 By johnastapleton

Zero tolerance and unwritten rules There is a sign facing traffic on the southbound Don Valley Parkway in Toronto between York Mills Road and Lawrence Avenue that announces that the 90km per hour speed limit will be enforced with zero tolerance. The sign has been there for as long as I can remember likely dating […]

Teaching what I want to teach because I like what I like…..another last word on David Gilmour

Published on September 29, 2013 By johnastapleton

At bottom, David Gilmour conflates personal interest with public policy and tries to make the case that the arena in which he practices the former should be indistinguishable from the latter. The private and public in his case become one.  (More about that later!) OK – all of us have private interests that are ultimately […]

Accidentally green & inadvertently poor? The strange case of the District of Scarborough Ontario

Published on June 7, 2013 By johnastapleton

First it was a community, then a city, then a municipality and now a District in the Toronto megacity. Scarborough is a very interesting place to live in the new millennium because it is accidentally green and inadvertently poor. When I began analysing the data on the working poor in Toronto for the Metcalf Foundation, […]

How do we begin a dialogue about inequality with conservative Canadians?

Published on December 18, 2012 By johnastapleton

As someone who spent a career in social welfare, I have often been a sounding board for conservative acquaintances, particularly those who are advanced in years. “I say, let them starve,” one of my relatives declared to me at a family dinner. What he meant by that is: “Why don’t these people behave? Why don’t […]

How do you replace social policy? With ‘decision-based evidence making’[i]

Published on December 10, 2012 By johnastapleton

Social policy, at its simplest and most active, is the articulation of ideas to effect positive change for people based on strong principles and the best available evidence. Social policy is a good thing and is historically a strong suit of governments. Therefore, it is extremely interesting that Canada now has a federal government that […]

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