Dr. John Hollins, past Chair CACOR reviews the book:
What is government good at? A Canadian Answer 
by Donald Savoie 
Donald Savoie argues that politicians and the top layer of public servants are good at:
o managing an organisation dominated by the prime minister of the day:
- responding to demands from the prime minister and the prime minister’s office;
- keeping ministers out of trouble;
o generating and avoiding blame;
o playing to segments of the electorate to win the next election;
o adding management layers and staff.
They are not as good at
o defining the broad public interest;
o recognising and providing evidence-based policy advice;
o being accountable to Parliament and to citizens;
o paying sufficient attention to the delivery of services and programs;
o managing human and financial resources efficiently and frugally;
o implementing policies and programs and evaluating their impact.
Professor Savoie identifies a “fault line” between the upper level of the government — the prime minister, the courtiers, senior executives and political staff working close to the prime minister — and the lower level of public servants charged with delivering the policies and programs of the government. The upper level pays little attention to the lower level, leaving the bureaucrats below the fault line frustrated.
He finds that the government’s decision-making process is bogged down by too many:
o oversight bodies,
o management levels,
o obligations to consult interest groups, and
o lobbyists pursuing the narrow interests of their clients.
He finds that citizens no longer vote as citizens. Fewer and fewer electors bother to vote. Those who do, vote with bounded interests as members of associations, unions, professions, and businesses. Since politicians are more responsive to those who vote, it has become exceedingly difficult for politicians in power to rally public consensus behind a national or global interest. So governments respond to crises, narrow interests, and the concerns of political and economic elites, who can buy influence, unlike most citizens.
 The Ottawa Public Library has copies of this book.
 Donald J. Savoie holds the Canada Chair in Public Administration at the Université de Moncton.