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Power to the People? The Impacts and Outcomes of Energy Consultations in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 October 2015

Linsay Martens*
University of Saskatchewan
Kathleen McNutt*
University of Regina
Jeremy Rayner*
University of Saskatchewan
Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan, 101 Diefenbaker Place, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CanadaS7N 5B8, Email:
Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Regina, 3737 Wascana Parkway, Regina, Saskatchewan, CanadaS4S 0A2, Email:
Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan, 101 Diefenbaker Place, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CanadaS7N 5B8, Email:


Like other policy subsectors, power generation has been affected by the governance changes of the last two decades, including a shift to more collaborative state-society relations. Collaborative governance implies new kinds of public engagement designed to provide both input legitimacy, through the involvement of a broader range of actors in policy design, and output legitimacy, through enhanced feedback and policy learning. This paper compares the impact of “governance-driven engagement” in the power generation subsectors in Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan, arguing that engagement increased the complexity of the policy mix in the subsector without succeeding in providing better feedback and learning. The paper notes a recent trend towards more expert-driven and less collaborative processes, as both provinces struggled to rationalize and simplify power generation policy goals and instruments.


Comme d'autres sous-secteurs de politiques publiques, la production d'électricité a été affectée par des changements de gouvernance au cours des deux dernières décennies, et par davantage de relations collaboratives État-société. La gouvernance collaborative implique de nouvelles formes d'engagement public pour fournir à la fois une légitimité entrante, à travers la participation d'une gamme plus vaste d'acteurs dans la conception de politiques, et une légitimité sortante, par le biais d'un accroissement d'information et d'un apprentissage en matière de politiques. Cet article compare l'impact de la “participation par la gouvernance” dans les sous-secteurs de production d'électricité en Nouvelle Ecosse et en Saskatchewan, et soutient que la participation a accru la complexité de la combinaison de mesures dans le sous-secteur, sans pour autant parvenir à fournir une meilleure information ou un meilleur apprentissage. L'article relève une tendance récente vers des processus impliquant plus d'expertise et moins de collaboration, car les deux provinces s'efforcent de rationaliser et de simplifier les objectifs et les instruments de politiques en matière de production d'électricité.

Research Article
Copyright © Canadian Political Science Association (l'Association canadienne de science politique) and/et la Société québécoise de science politique 2015 

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