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Defending a Contested Ideal

Luc Juillet
Ken Rasmussen


Maria Barrados

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1The morning of my arrival at the Public Service Commission, my colleagues presented me with a book entitled The Biography of an Institution. Written by Professor J. E. Hodgetts et al., it was all about the first sixty years of this organization. The commission is not well known outside of the public service so I was pleased to read such a comprehensive piece of work about the organization for which 1 had just begun to work as president. It would appear that change and challenge have always been a way of life for the commission, even from its very inception.

2One hundred years ago, in 1908, the Civil Service Commission, as it was then called, was born. It is my good fortune to be here for this special birthday. The book you are about to read is a special contribution to the celebration of this event. It is the result of the study by two scholars, Professor Ken Rasmussen of the University of Regina and Professor Luc Juillet of the University of Ottawa.

3I want to thank both these authors for their work and their willingness to take on the challenge of exploring the one hundred years of a parliamentary institution—a formidable task by any reckoning.

4This project demonstrates the effectiveness of partnership. I refer here to the close working relationships that have always existed among academics, the Institute of Public Administration of Canada and the Public Service Commission.

5While reading this book, I could not help but think of the thousands of Canadian men and women who have contributed to the direction of the Public Service Commission during the past century. From clerks to commissioners, they strived to help farm and defend the evolution of the core values—merit and non-partisanship—that have helped guide the Canadian public service to this very clay.

6I hope you enjoy reading this book. I believe it contributes to a better understanding not only of the Public Service Commission but also of the wider field of Canadian public administration.

© Les Presses de l’Université d’Ottawa | University of Ottawa Press, 2008

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