Albert Johnson and Thomas Shoyama, key members of the affectionately-known “Saskatchewan Mafia” who helped define the nature of public service both in the province and throughout Canada from the 1940s onward, are now the namesakes of the U of R’s Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. The School was named in their honour at a ceremony involving their families today at the Terrace Building, Innovation Place Regina. It was also announced that an annual Johnson-Shoyama lecture will begin in February, 2008.
Also at the event, University of Regina and University of Saskatchewan announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to make the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy a provincial school with operations at both universities. This initiative reflects the themes of collaboration that dominated both the Johnson and McKay reports on Post Secondary Education in the 1990s.
Throughout their careers, Johnson and Shoyama made important political and social contributions at both the provincial and national levels.
“Albert Johnson and Thomas Shoyama created a legacy of public service in our province and in doing so demonstrated that Saskatchewan is a national and even international leader in terms of public policy development and public management innovation,” said University of Regina President Jim Tomkins at the naming ceremony. “We’re proud that their legacy will live on at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy – a school dedicated to the values and excellence they embraced during their distinguished and influential careers in the public service.”
Originally formed in 2005 as the University of Regina Graduate School of Public Policy, the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy offers a Master of Public Administration program that provides a strong foundation of theory, practice and research to prepare students for a career in public management, public policy research or a variety of careers in the non-profit or the private sector. The School attracts students from across Canada and around the world who are interested in public service, community-building and the improvement of public policy and management.
“Johnson and Shoyama devoted their public service to the advancement of the entire province, so it is fitting that their names be associated with a school of public policy that is truly provincial in scope,” said U of S, Vice President Academic Michael Atkinson.
“As the University of Saskatchewan commences its next 100 years, we will continue to build on our legacy and find new ways to advance university education in the development of our province and country.”
A native of Insinger, Saskatchewan, Johnson received degrees in political economy from the universities of Saskatchewan and Toronto before being recruited to the Saskatchewan public service. In 1952, at the age of 28, he was appointed Deputy Provincial Treasurer, a position he held for the next 12 years. During this time, he also completed a PhD in public administration at Harvard University.
In 1964, Johnson was appointed as the federal government’s Assistant Deputy Minister of Finance, where he played a key role in the introduction of national Medicare as well as the design of a federal college and university grant system. In 1968 he was appointed as Prime Minister Trudeau’s economic advisor on the Constitution, and from 1973 to 1982, he was president of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. After his retirement, in the 1990s Johnson directed a major governance program to help establish a multiracial democracy in South Africa. He currently lives in Ottawa with his wife Ruth.
Born in Kamloops, British Columbia, Thomas Shoyama graduated from the University of British Columbia with BA and BComm degrees in 1938. From 1939-45 he served as editor of the New Canadian, a weekly civil rights newspaper which he published from an internment camp in Kaslo, BC. Shoyama joined the Saskatchewan government in 1946, helping design systems for administering Crown corporations as well as an economic development plan for the province’s natural resources. In 1950, he became the provincial Cabinet’s chief economic advisor and Premier Douglas’ closest policy advisor.
Shoyama served as a senior research economist with the Economic Council of Canada in the mid-1960s, and in 1968 became the federal government’s Assistant Deputy Minister of Finance. By 1975, after a term as Deputy Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Finance. Both before and after his retirement in 1979, he received several awards honouring his longstanding commitment to public service. These include Officer of the Order of Canada (1979) and the Japanese government’s Order of the Sacred Treasure for his outstanding contributions to the Japanese-Canadian community. Shoyama passed away in December, 2006 and is survived by his companion, Hazel Morris.
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