Donald Lenihan
Dr. Don Lenihan is Vice President, Engagement at the Public Policy Forum in Ottawa, Canada. He is an internationally recognized expert on public engagement, accountability and service delivery. He is currently leading the Public Engagement Project (PEP), a research and capacity-building project involving federal, provincial/territorial and municipal governments in Canada, and the Government of Australia.

Don’s latest book, Rethinking the Public Policy Process, is an introduction to the field of public engagement, as well as a blueprint for change, and a sustained argument for the need to rethink the public policy process. It will be released in the fall of 2011.

Don has over 25 years of experience as a project leader, writer, speaker, senior government advisor, trainer and facilitator. Throughout his career, he has developed and led many research and consultation projects involving senior public servants, academics, elected officials, journalists and members of the private and third sectors from across the country. He is the author of numerous articles, studies and books and a former columnist with the Hill Times newspaper in Ottawa and the magazine CIO Government Review.

Blog Entries by Donald Lenihan

Occupy Wall Street Protesters Should Think Globally and Act Locally

1 Comments | Posted October 20, 2011 | 10:13:05 (EST)

Last week I travelled from Nunavut, near the top of the world, to Australia, near the bottom, to participate in community dialogues on new ways of making policy and delivering government services.

Long journeys like this often take on a symbolic character in our minds, perhaps because we have...

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Are Women More Politically Progressive Than Men?

2 Comments | Posted October 12, 2011 | 17:31:24 (EST)

With four women in this country now holding the office of premier, have we reached some kind of political watershed? Over the last week, a lot of ink has been spilt debating this. There are some interesting conclusions.

The best explanation for why this is happening now seems to...

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Will David Cameron's 'Big Society' Work in Ottawa?

Posted September 22, 2011 | 10:17:16 (EST)

British Prime Minister David Cameron is in Ottawa today, where he will address Canada's Parliament, and I'm delighted. Maybe he'll light a policy fire under the Harper government.

At a time when Big Ideas seem to be out of fashion, Cameron is definitely a Big Ideas guy -- or perhaps...

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MPs Still Nobodies, But Now it's When They're on the Hill

Posted September 19, 2011 | 09:57:05 (EST)

Pierre Trudeau famously said that as soon as MPs were 50 yards from Parliament Hill they turned into nobodies. If the Samara report is right, this has come full circle. Today's MPs are somebody until they get within 50 yards of Parliament, where they promptly become nobodies.


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How I Learned to Live With the Unelected Senate

Posted August 11, 2011 | 10:13:30 (EST)

The federal government's bill to reform the Senate has me scratching my head. As someone from the West, I've had a long-standing interest in such proposals, but I can't figure out where this one is coming from. Maybe you can help me.

Consider the original Senate. It was...

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Judging Nycole Turmel: Shall We have a Stoning?

Posted August 3, 2011 | 13:45:01 (EST)

Nycole Turmel insists she's a federalist, even though she has been a member of two sovereigntist parties. The Ottawa commentariat is in a tizzy.

People in this town really should get a life.

Now, before someone accuses me of being a collaborateur, let me declare my bona...

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Swimming Upstream Against Government Secrecy

Posted July 29, 2011 | 10:10:59 (EST)

Last week the government of British Columbia announced its bid to become the country's leader in open government. Ironically, this week the feds have used the same province to reassert their preference for old-style command-and-control.

Postmedia News reports that "Top bureaucrats in Ottawa have muzzled a...

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Making Business Accountable for Research and Development

Posted July 21, 2011 | 14:06:43 (EST)

Remember when the Blackberry first appeared? Canada's RIM had a great idea, got it to market, and we all benefitted. That's how business works, right?

Well, not quite. Some people say RIM's best-before date may have passed, which raises the question, what's next?

Whatever happens to...

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Canadians Share Accountability Concerns With the Developing World

Posted July 11, 2011 | 12:40:52 (EST)

Forty experts from 22 countries gathered at the United Nations International Centre in Vienna last week to discuss why citizen engagement is the next step in promoting transparent and accountable government.

Although I have worked on engagement for years, I left with a new perspective on why Canadians...

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Open Government: Will B.C. Take the Lead in Transparency?

Posted June 27, 2011 | 09:56:42 (EST)

British Columbia's new premier, Christy Clark, has declared open government one of her top priorities. She promises to "get citizens more engaged with their government, including holding open town halls in communities around the province."

Fifteen of the world's leading experts on government would be pleased. They have...

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Public Opinion Polls: Useless in Our Volatile Society?

Posted June 19, 2011 | 09:41:59 (EST)

Public opinion research (POR), such as polling, focus groups and surveys, is likely the most influential policy tool of the last few decades. It helps clarify public debate by providing a methodologically rigorous way of assigning weights to different views, and, as such, helps guide strategists, planners and decision-makers. But...

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Preston Manning Is Right: Government Should Be a Facilitator

Posted June 13, 2011 | 09:00:13 (EST)

A new poll from The Manning Centre shows that Canadians' views of government are becoming more conservative -- at least, that is what Preston Manning says. In response, he thinks government should become more of an enabler, partner and facilitator, and less of a prime mover.

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Harnessing the Power of Sports for Social Action

Posted June 6, 2011 | 16:35:40 (EST)

It's a little disorienting. You think you'll flip on the TV or radio and catch up on politics, but all the usual suspects are suddenly talking sports, from hockey in Winnipeg to soccer in Barcelona.

At one point last week, Peter Mansbridge spent the better part of an hour interviewing...

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