Objects in Mirror are Closer Than They Appear, Pt. 2

Happy holidays, everyone.

This blog will be the next installation in our journey through the web archive. This month, I decided to look at the Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada, of which the 20th was recently published. The reports stem from Public Service 2000: The Renewal of the Public Service of Canada, written for Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in 1989.

You can find the text of reports on the Clerk of the Privy Council website.

I will include the opening lines of the 1st, 6th, 11th, 16th, and 20th reports, then a word cloud to show ratios of word counts in the reports. All Wordle word clouds remove common English words and are limited to the top 150 used words in the report. The colours are nothing more than a seasonal extravagance, but the size of each word reflects the relative number of times it was used in the report.

1992: First Annual Report to The Prime Minister on The Public Service of Canada
Paul M. Tellier, Clerk of the Privy Council

“In December 1989, the Prime Minister announced the Government’s intention to reform and renew the Public Service of Canada to meet the challenges of the 21st century. In December l990, the Government issued a White Paper setting out principles and specific objectives to guide the process of reform. The White Paper called for an annual report by the Clerk of the Privy Council ‘on the state of the Public Service in general, and for the next five years on the implementation of Public Service 2000 in particular.’ This is the first such Report.”

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1998: Sixth Annual Report to The Prime Minister on The Public Service of Canada
Jocelyne Bourgon, Clerk of the Privy Council

“Prime Minister, every year for the past five years I have sent you a report on the state of the Public Service of Canada. I told you about our efforts to modernize the way we serve Canadians by encouraging partnership and teamwork, by knocking down the barriers among us or by using the power of new technology. I told you of our resolve to strengthen our policy capacity by looking at the big picture well beyond the boundaries of our departments or even of governments by reaching out to others and building on their strengths. I told you of our commitment to provide for a modern and vibrant organization, one which would be the pride of all public servants and deserving of the respect of all Canadians.”

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2004: Eleventh Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada
Alex Himelfarb, Clerk of the Privy Council

“I am pleased to present the Eleventh Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada. It describes some of the key events of the past year that have affected the public service. It recounts our progress in building a better public service, and it sets out what I see as some of the main challenges that the public service faces over the next year and beyond. This national institution is increasingly important to Canada’s future. Several trends — increasing interdependence among all levels of government and among countries, rapid advances in information technology, an increasingly educated and diverse population, and growing attention to issues of good governance — create both the challenge and the opportunity for the public service to reassert and renew its historic role in helping to build our country.”

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2009: Sixteenth Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada
Kevin G. Lynch, Clerk of the Privy Council

“I am submitting this report in an economic environment in which the challenges facing the Government of Canada and Canadians are dramatically different from what they were a year ago. At no time has the Government needed a professional, non-partisan public service more than today, as we face the most difficult international economic circumstances in recent history. The world is experiencing the first synchronized global recession in more than 60 years, exacerbated by severe strains on international financial markets. In such circumstances, the Canadian economy is also in recession, with increasing job losses, and reduced confidence on the part of business, investors and households.”

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2013: Twentieth Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada
Wayne G. Wouters, Clerk of the Privy Council

“I am proud to deliver this twentieth report on the state of Canada’s Public Service. For the past two decades, the Clerk has presented an annual report on the Public Service to the Prime Minister, who then tables it in both Houses of Parliament. The report has provided each Clerk with the opportunity to reflect on the challenges and accomplishments of this vital national institution and to consider what lies ahead. Our Public Service stands among the best in the world and is a true asset to our nation. As the Prime Minister has stated, the combination of high standards of integrity, professionalism, and capability makes us second to none.”

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I wish everyone a safe and happy holidays and I look forward to reading the 21st Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada in early 2014.


Craig Sellars
Craig Sellars is a passionate Canadian public servant and biologist. Connect with Craig on Twitter @CraigSellars.

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