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Looking back at 2017 IPAC national conference

In late August, about 45 provincial government employees, representing every level of the organization, were among 500 delegates and speakers of the annual Institute of Public Administration (IPAC) national conference hosted in Charlottetown.

In the spirit of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, the theme of the conference was “Strong Foundations, Sustainable Futures.”

The Inconvenient Truth

A highlight of the conference was a keynote address by Senator Murray Sinclair, former chief commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). He was the first Aboriginal judge appointed in Manitoba and Canada's second. Senator Sinclair has honorary doctorates from eight Canadian universities. He was appointed to the Senate on April 2, 2016.

Senator Sinclair offered a powerful narrative on the Indigenous history of relationships with the state and the facts about residential schools. He challenged individual delegates to ask themselves: "Where do I come from?", "As a country, where do we come from?" and "How did we get here?"

Senator Sinclair offered this advice to individuals, groups and governments on how best to move toward reconciliation:

  • Start with humility.
  • Think of reconciliation in terms of rights, not benevolence.
  • Stop doing and start listening.
  • Understand your roles and responsibilities.
  • Figure out how to support and enable reconciliation.

Referenced and related websites:

Clerk's Panel

Moderator Penny Ballantyne, deputy minister (Northwest Territories) addresses panelists (from left to right) Paul Ledwell, clerk and deputy minister (PEI), Laura Lee Langley, deputy minister, clerk and head of the public service (Nova Scotia), Judy Wagner, clerk and head of the public service (New Brunswick) and Marcia Nelson, deputy minister of Executive Council and head of the public service (Alberta).

The clerks discussed reconcilation and relationships with First Nations governments, shared their insights on innovative policy making through partnerships and public engagement and offered advice to public servants on how to approach working effectively with elected government members.

Here are a few highlights of the clerks' Panel from Twitter:

Find the full conversation on Twitter using


The IPAC PEI chapter holds local events throughout the year. To receive more information, get involved or join the mailing list, contact Janice Pettit, Executive Council Office at

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