Donald Savoie OC ONB FRSC

Donald Savoie is one of Canada’s most respect public policy minds, but above all, he is a Maritimer.

Savoie founded the Canadian Institute for Research on Regional Development at l’Université de Moncton in 1983 where he also teaches public administration. The institute was renamed the Donald J. Savoie Institute in 2015.

He has advised governments in Canada and abroad, including governments in Russia, China, Brazil, Hungary and Bosnia Herzegovina. He also advised a number of international organizations including the United Nations, the World Bank and OECD. He currently holds the Canada Research Chair in Public Administration and Governance at the University of Moncton.

governing-from-the-centre.jpgHe has published forty-five books and over 200 articles in journals and edited collections during his career. I first encountered him with his book Governing from the Centre: The Concentration of Power in Canadian Politics which was shortlisted for the Donner Prize. His 2013 book, Whatever Happened to the Music Teacher? How Government Decides and Why was shortlisted for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. His biography, Harrison McCain: Single-Minded Purpose, was nominated for the 2014 National Business Book Award.

His articles have been published in leading journals of political science, public administration and public policy. His work has been reviewed in leading peer-reviewed journals of political science, public policy and public administration and some of the world’s leading newspapers.

donald-j-savoie-oc.jpgAmong his accomplishments, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1993, a member of the Order of New Brunswick in 2011 and elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1992. He obtained a Doctorate of Philosophy from Oxford University in 1979. In 2000, he became one of only a few individuals from North America to receive a Doctor of Letters from Oxford. He has also been awarded eight honorary doctorates by Canadian universities, was elected a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford in 2006 and named Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics in 2007. He was also a Senior Fulbright Scholar at Harvard. Donald Savoie was awarded the 2015 Killam Prize in Social Sciences, the first scholar at an Atlantic Canadian university to receive this award.

Looking for Bootstraps

In 2006, author Donald Savoie wrote a seminal book on economic development in the Maritimes, Visiting Grandchildren. His plans were “to exit the field with this book.” Just over a decade later he returns to the subject with Looking for Bootstraps. Concerned about the region’s future, he sought to explore and explain the reasons behind its lack of economic development spark a much-needed debate about the future of the Maritime Provinces.

I sat down with him in my office in Halifax and I hope you enjoy this somewhat “in the weeds” discussion about the political history of the Maritimes and Atlantic Canadian public policy with the illustrious, Donald J. Savoie.


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Starr Cunningham
Joost Janssen