New tome receives accolades

Faculty of Arts and Science Policy Studies Professor Kathy Brock co-edited Managing Federalism through Pandemic, a new book that was named to the Hill Times Top 100 Best Books of 2023. In addition to her chapters, other contributors from Queen’s included Kyle Hanniman (Political Studies), Gene Lang (Policy Studies), and the late Andrew Graham (Policy Studies).

Managing Federalism through Pandemic summarizes and analyses multiple policy dimensions of Canada's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and related policy issues from the perspective of Canadian federalism. Contributors address the relative effectiveness of intergovernmental cooperation at the summit level and in policy fields including emergency management, public health, national security, Indigenous peoples and governments, border governance, crisis communications, fiscal federalism, income security policies (CERB), supply chain resilience, and interacting energy and climate policies.

She co-edited the book with Geoffrey Hale, professor emeritus in the Department of Political Science at the University of Lethbridge and a leading scholar of federalism in Canada and the US.

New book by Kathy Brock

A new book on managing federalism penned by FAS researcher lands on Hill Times Top 100 list.

“The Hill Times is the paper that serves Ottawa but it’s read by most people in academia who work in policy work or politics or economics but also by people in the other governments in the country,” says Dr. Brock, who is cross appointed to Political Studies. “The importance of being on that list is that it signals to policy makers but also to policy schools and other academics that this is a book that has academic merit but also practical merit. This should get read in Ottawa and perhaps have an impact on policy directly.”

Dr. Brock says while in development the book received attention from other countries as there was interest in how Canada performed during the pandemic. She was invited to speak to the European Union Institute, one of the leading social science research institutions in Europe, on the Canadian experience using materials from her work but also other chapters in the book.

To find authors for the chapters in the book, she adds they reached out to the top academics and practitioners who had unique insights into the topic of federalism. They also looked for people that were non-partisan in their thinking who could do a fair assessment of what was happening.

“What we discovered was that yes, there were policy failures, but our governments worked quite well together. Even the tensions and conflicts between them were good because the provinces held the federal government’s feet to the fire on a variety of issues – vaccinations, the Safe Restart Agreement.

“We want policy makers to look at the weaknesses we point out and, going forward to understand the lessons we can learn from the pandemic, what are the agencies we need in place, and what do we need to do better. That said, our governments did well dealing with an unprecedented situation.”

The book was published with a grant from the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program (ASPP).