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When the Party’s OverThe Politics of Fiscal Squeeze in Perspective$
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Christopher Hood, David Heald, and Rozana Himaz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265734

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265734.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 23 May 2022

A Perfect Storm in Reverse:

A Perfect Storm in Reverse:

The 1994–1997 Program Review in Canada

(p.207) 10 A Perfect Storm in Reverse
When the Party’s Over

Donald J. Savoie

British Academy

Canada’s 1990s Program Review under Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin has been seen by many as the gold standard for how to conduct fiscal squeeze. The review had a profound impact on both government programmes and government organisation, with numerous agencies eliminated and some 45,000 positions cut in the federal public service. But the review took place in special political circumstances—a kind of perfect storm in reverse. Both the media and the opposition parties either supported spending cuts or had no interest in budget issues, and some of the most politically sensitive cuts were downloaded to provincial governments. Moreover, the effort was essentially ad hoc and once the fiscal objective was met, the machinery quickly reverted to its old ways. The exercise therefore tells us more about how to develop an ad hoc approach to programme review than about how to develop a more sustained approach to fiscal squeeze.

Keywords:   Canada, fiscal squeeze, Program Review, spending cuts, budget, Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin, public service

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