Everyone complains about politics. At Carleton University, we intend to do something about it.
Whether it is the Green activist in Edmonton bent on making the city more eco-friendly or a Conservative Party staff member in Ottawa devoted to implementing law and order reform, across this country young people are drawn to the cut-and-thrust of politics out of passion and conviction. They serve as staff members to cabinet ministers and elected representatives, managers and strategists for political parties, and political liaison officers for civil society organizations that seek to influence policy and legislative priorities.
But while political staff at all levels wield considerable authority over how Canadians are governed, until now there has been no formal education in their duties and responsibilities available to them in this country, and little in the way of apprenticing or mentoring. A crucial element of the democratic process, therefore, has been left to on-the-job training, with a consequent weakness in the apparatus of governance.
Carleton University’s Clayton H. Riddell Master of Political Management is intended to address this problem. The degree will equip its graduates with an essential grasp of democratic processes and the institutions through which they are administered. It will cultivate a set of professional skills appropriate to work as a political manager and strategist. It will hone through practice the judgment and reflection of its students, not simply with a view to short-term partisan advantage but in consideration of the best interests of the polity. And it will insist on ethical comportment as a guiding principle at all times, along with respect for those on the other side of a partisan divide.
Its twin goals are to provide an exhilarating and indispensable education for those who will go on to occupy positions of responsibility in Canadian politics, and in so doing to improve the political process for all Canadians.
We thank Clay Riddell for his foresight and generosity in bringing this program into being. And we invite you to join with us in building what promises to be a signature degree program for Carleton University and for Canadian politics.