Multi-level Governance: Getting the Job Done and Respecting Community Difference – Three Winnipeg Cases

Christopher Leo, Mike Pyl


Multi-level governance is seen by different commentators as addressing a varied array of concerns. Some see it as a means of fulfilling the norms of the new public management, and thereby of freeing the administration of government programs from the constraints imposed by centralized bureaucracy. Some assess it in terms of dealing with policy problems so complex that they can only be addressed by concerted and co-ordinated efforts of more than one level of government and, often, a variety of agencies. At the same time, multi-level governance is also associated with the attempt to introduce a greater degree of flexibility into federal policy-making, in order to ensure that federal policies respect the unique characteristics of different communities. In this study, we bring all of these concerns to bear on three case studies of the multi-level governance of federal properties in Winnipeg, the James A. Richardson International Airport, the Kapyong Barracks and The Forks. The three properties are all administered by agencies at least one step removed from direct government supervision. We posed two research questions: 1) Are the operations of these agencies, and the character of their relations with federal and municipal governments, appropriate to the ends they are meant to serve? 2) Do they respect community difference? In all three cases, we find that the objective of effective management is reasonably or very well served, but respect for community difference is much less evident.


multi-level governance, accountability, non-government agencies

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@Canadian Political Science Review (CPSR). ISSN 1911-4125