Remarks by Michael Wernick, Clerk of the Privy Council, at the Canada School of Public Service’s 2018 Manion Lecture 


October 17, 2018
Michael Wernick, Clerk of the Privy Council

Check against Delivery

Thank you, Taki (Sarantakis, President of the Canada School of Public Service). Thank you, Justine Mallou. Congratulations for your win. I read your paper with great interest. It is a topic of personal interest and I hope everybody gets a chance to have a look at the website and at your work. It is quite inspiring to see the bridge between the generations.

I would also like to do a shout out to Sylvie and the Manion family. I am old enough to have met and known Jack Manion. He was a great public servant and an inspiration to my generation of young public servants. I am equally inspired by seeing young people like Justine and the passion that they bring to making their country and their communities a better place. It is really moving to be here.

I would also like to, of course, thank Monique (Renaud, Algonquin Elder), who is a great friend of the public service and who we see often at events around the capital region. Thank you. Megwiitch, Monique.

Finally, thank you to the dancers and the drum group. It was a wonderful performance. If you do get a chance to go and see Aboriginal Experiences—they are over on Victoria Island most of the summer and around pow wows, celebrations and events here and across the country—please do so.

Taki, thank you for the travel back in time. You are having marquee events taking us to way back when—and I remember all of them with great clarity. I am a little worried about that.

For future time travelers, those who are going to be watching this event on your website, or whatever the equivalent is years from now, I do want to acknowledge that we are having this event on October 17, 2018, a day which is going to be quite a memorable one.

Two things happened today which I never imagined as a graduate student—way back when—would ever happen. One was the legalization and regulation of cannabis. The other is the Toronto Maple Leafs being in first place.

Change is a constant theme. Change and continuity are subjects that I have written about and talked about many times. However, you are not here to hear me. One of the most striking things that Canadians do, whether they are in the private or public sector, is they watch our friends and neighbours to the south with great fascination. That has happened at all times, I think never more so than over the last couple of years, and especially more recently. I think there may be higher ratings for C SPAN than there are for the Canadian Parliamentary Channel more recently.

We talked about who would be a good guest this year for the Manion Lecture.
It was decided quite quickly that the subject of the United States—our friends, our American partners—and what is happening, is the best subject, one of great interest to us, as Canadians.

We are very pleased to have with us tonight Dr. Douglas Elmendorf. Dr. Elmendorf is one of those special people that I really admire, that move almost effortlessly between the public sector, academia, private sector, and think tanks. He has worked on both the legislative and the executive branches of government and served with great distinction in Washington.

He is currently the Dean and Don K. Price Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, which is well known to all of us by reputation. Many Canadians have gone through the Kennedy School over recent years, and I think there are some here. I see a couple in the front row there. It has been a great partner for the Canadian public service as well.

You know the biography and I will not spend any more time on that. I just want to say, we are very honoured and very pleased to have Dr. Elmendorf here as our guest. I will ask him to give us a few remarks and then we will have a bit of a chance for a fireside chat and an exchange with people in the audience here, and out there on the “Interweb”.

Thank you very much.

Pictures of the event are available on-line.

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