And The Beat Goes On…

So, how many consultants do you know that have a song written about them?

Craig Marchand is the Leader of the Policy and Research Practice Group at Delsys.  He’s a whiz at strategic planning, process improvement and applying an integrated approach to ensuring quality in the delivery of public services. But what most of our clients don’t know is that Craig used to be a professional snowboarder.  He was based in Whistler, B.C., (still his spiritual home) but has travelled over the world snowboarding and teaching.

Why is that important?  Because the characteristics that made him an exceptional backcountry snow-boarder also make him an exceptional consultant:

  1. He has an unerring sense of balance.
  2. He’s willing to take risks, which means…
  3. He’s not afraid to try something new, which means…
  4. He’s willing to venture off the beaten track (as long as he can find his way back).
  5. He has a dedication to perfecting his technique through a combination of strength and agility; and
  6. He applies the mental discipline required to achieve superior performance on a consistent basis.

We like Craig a lot, but there’s one small problem. Craig LOVES winter. When the rest of Ottawa is groaning and complaining about the cold and ice and snow, Craig is loving it!   He never wants it to end. And, we all blame him when it seems to go on forever.


Craig wants winter to last well into spring so he’ll have good conditions when he takes his annual holiday at Whistler. And, for reasons we don’t yet understand, he seems to have great success in achieving that result.

Anyway, last year, after a particularly long, hard winter, Delsys staff unanimously called on him to cancel his holiday in hopes that spring would eventually return to Ottawa. Craig responded in characteristic fashion, arguing that only by taking his vacation would winter come to a close.  And, to make his argument resonate more, he couched his argument in some kind of strange snowboarder language.

The exact text of his email response to all Delsys staff was used as the spoken word lyric in the middle section of the following electronic dance music track, which has been played extensively at the New Rave Revival scene in the U.K. and the Sunshine Coast. (OK. That part is not true at all.)



With a response like that, who do you think prevailed?

Answer:  Winter.  As usual.


Moving Towards a Principles Based Approach

The advantages and challenges of transforming a rules-based regulatory regime into a more principles-based regime…

Over the past decade and especially in the past few years, Delsys Research and its associates and colleagues have completed a number of consulting assignments as well as their own research and papers on the advantages and challenges of transforming a rules-based regulatory regime into a more principles-based regime.  Our experience, ideas and insights on a successful transition process are contained in an Issues Note which was presented to the Community of Federal Regulators in Ottawa on November 7 2014.  The note and presentation offered five major arguments and lessons.

  1. On balance, the principles-based regulation approach offers many advantages over rules-based regulation for many regulatory authorities and regimes.
  2. The challenges, constraints, costs, effort and time associated with moving from a rules-based to a principles-based regime should not be minimized.
  3. Most regulatory regimes are to varying degrees a hybrid, which encompasses a combination of broader principles and more specific rules in areas where greater precision is needed.  When a hybrid approach is being assessed, regulators and stakeholders should consider a range of options including: legislation, regulations, guidance documents of various kinds, and jurisprudence.
  4. In assessing and selecting the most appropriate instruments for achieving greater precision, regulatory authorities need to work closely with regulatees and others in order to ensure that the hybrid regime incorporates the best rather than the worst of the both regulatory worlds.
  5. While moving to a principles-based approach is broadly consistent with and supportive of regulatory reform and modernization and deregulation, this should not be viewed as a panacea for an under-performing regulatory regime; and as a method for regulatory authorities to contribute to government expenditure and deficit reduction policies through reductions in regulatory budgets, resources and capabilities.