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Book Review

by Divers auteurs / Various Authors

Collaborative Decentred Metagovernance and Inquiring Systems

This first volume in the Collaborative Decentred Metagovernance Series scopes: 

  • what is meant by collaborative decentred metagovernance and stewardship;
  • how this new problematique has emerged;
  • on what assumptions and key concepts it is built;
  • the central role played by inquiring systems in public policy; and
  • how it can be used to throw some light on wicked policy problems in policy  domains like health, productivity and innovation, as well as on persistent and perplexing issues like the need to strike a new balance in conflicts with Aboriginal communities over such things as the illegal tobacco trade and self-governance.

This book explains how collaborative decentred metagovernance combines forms and styles of governance being experimented with in the private, public and voluntary sectors, to ensure effective coordination when no one can legitimately lay claim to being in charge because power, resources and information are widely distributed into many hands, and governance must, of necessity, be decentred and collaborative.


Ruth Hubbard is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre on Governance of the University of Ottawa. She served for more than a decade as a federal deputy minister in the Government of Canada.

Gilles Paquet is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre on Governance of the University of Ottawa, and Editor in Chief of  For more information, visit his website

Christopher Wilson is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre on Governance of the University of Ottawa, and a senior consultant on collaborative governance and partnership in the public and voluntary sectors.

Table of Contents


What is collaborative decentred metagovernance?

A work in progress

A preview of the contents


Chapter 1Foundations

Gilles Paquet

A new mindset


Key concepts

Stewardship as process

Automatic pilot and collibration

Putting all this together

Chapter 2Inquiring Systems

Gilles Paquet and Christopher Wilson


The underlying conceptual framework: sound, but in need of improvement

Inquiring systems as heuristics and affordances

Collaborative decentred metagovernance as inquiring systems

Stewardship: self-governance, collibration and collaboration

A word of warning


Chapter 3Scheming Virtuously

Gilles Paquet


Inquiring system as design challenge

Tasks to be tackled

Phases in the crystallization of inquiring systems

The ethical corridor


Chapter 4The New Frontier

Ruth Hubbard and Gilles Paquet


Inquiring systems, social learning and safe-fail mechanisms


Productivity and innovation


Chapter 5Metagovernance Review

Ruth Hubbard and Gilles Paquet


A new basic unit of analysis

The new cosmology

A framework

Two cases

Lessons learned




The power of denial

No need for undue pessimism

Developmental evaluation as a point of entry

The requisite variety and collaboration imperatives

In praise of humility


You can purchase a copy of this book through either or

On peut commander ce livre soit chez ou chez

Moderato cantabile:

Towards Principled governance for Canada’s immigration regime

Canada has engaged in an immigration policy experiment of momentous importance over the last 25 years: it has almost doubled the flow of new immigrants. This has not only strained Canada’s absorptive capacity and the common public culture, and increased the costs of immigration for Canadians, but it has also led the more recent cohorts of immigrants to experience much greater difficulty integrating into their new homeland, causing them to fall more and more below the level of income of the Canadian-born.   

Canadians have been disinformed by officials, the intelligentsia and the media about the real impact of mass immigration on the economy and about its potential capacity to counter the effect of the aging of Canadian population. Canadians have been hoodwinked into accepting that maximum diversity is optimum diversity.

This book demolishes certain toxic myths in good currency about immigration, points to grievous administrative pathologies about the selection process of immigrants, and proposes new guide posts to shape a principled Canadian immigration policy – based on fair play and rules of hospitality that include permission to become a member of the host society must not be granted unconditionally. Moral contracts with newcomers should define the expectations of the host country as the quid for the quo represented by the entitlements that are afforded to the newcomer.


Gilles Paquet is Professor Emeritus at the Telfer School of Management, a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre on Governance of the University of Ottawa, and Editor in Chief of, an electronic journal on public governance and management that reaches some 10,000 subscribers. For more information, visit his website

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Dumbfounding Aspects of Canadian Immigration Policy


Some stylized facts

The baffling ‘Canadian consensus’ reversal after the mid-1990s

A frontal attack on this wicked problem may be counterproductive

Scheming virtuously on three fronts: a brief sketch


Chapter 2: Immigration and the Solidarity-Diversity-Security Nexus


The SDS nexus

Citizenship and the SDS nexus


Chapter 3: Toward Fair Play and Hospitality as a New Frame of Reference


Moral revolution – social transformation

Frame of reference I

Common public culture under threat

Frame of reference II in the making


Chapter 4: Toward Principled Governance of the Immigration Regime


Basic philosophy

A circumspect appraisal of the state of play by officialdom

Toward a new Canadian immigration regime

The moral contracts with newcomers

Terms of integration and default settings



You can purchase a copy of this book through either or

On peut commander ce livre soit chez ou chez

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