RADIOALUMNI.CA

CANADIAN EPICS IN RADIOCOMMUNICATION

ALUMNI WHO LIVED THE ADVENTURE OF RADIO

WIRELESS TELEGRAPHISTS  -  SPARKS  -  RADIO PIONEERS

RADIO OPERATORS  -  RADIO TECHNICIANS

RADIO TECHNOLOGISTS  -  RADIO ENGINEERS

RADIO INSPECTORS  -  SPECTRUM MANAGERS

ÉPOPÉES CANADIENNES EN RADIOCOMMUNICATION

LES ANCIENS QUI ONT VÉCU L'AVENTURE DE LA RADIO

TÉLÉGRAPHISTES SANS FIL  -  PIONNIERS DE LA RADIO

OPÉRATEURS RADIO  -  TECHNICIENS RADIO

TECHNOLOGUES RADIO  -  INGÉNIEURS RADIO

INSPECTEURS RADIO  -  GESTIONNAIRES DU SPECTRE

 

DOC's new Deputy Minister: Robert Rabinovitch

Editor's note: The following interview was given by Robert Rabinovitch in 1983,

after being appointed Deputy Minister of Communications in November 1982.

 

Born in Montreal in 1943, Mr. Rabinovitch has a Ph.D. in Finance from the university of Pennsyl­vania. From 1968 to 1971, he worked as special assistant to the Secretary of State for Canada. Over the next ten years he held several positions, including that of Director General of DOC's Broadcasting and Social Policy Branch from 1974 to 1976, and assistant secretary to the Cabinet, Privy Council Office, from 1977 until his appointment as Deputy Minister.

 

Communications Express:

Mr. Rabinovitch, how do you see the Department today as compared with what it was seven years ago when you worked in Broadcasting and Social Policy?

 

Mr. Rabinovitch:

In some ways it's the same, in others it's very different. The addition of Arts and Culture as an operating branch of the Department extends and completes its mandate. At the same time there have been significant changes in broadcasting, as well as a number of important changes in telecommunications. We anticipate more major changes over the next few years. The Department's titles may be the same but the activities have changed dramatically.

 

Communications Express:

The publication of the Applebaum­Hébert report last November aroused tremendous interest across Canada. The same should be true of the new broadcasting strategy which will soon be unveiled. Do you think that these two documents indicate that we are becoming a key department in the government.

 

Mr. Rabinovitch:

DOC is a key department, perhaps not along the same lines as the Department of Regional Industrial Expansion or the Department of Finance who have many more granting programs than we do. However, if the Canadian government wants to be involved in the fundamental changes which its economy is undergoing, it will do so with the assistance of the Department.

 

Communications Express:

As Deputy Minister of Communica­tions, what are your priorities for the next few years?

 

Mr. Rabinovitch:

Let's start with this year. My immed­iate priorities are to learn the ropes of the Department. At the same time, however, there are technological imperatives which do not afford us the luxury of waiting for the training of a new Deputy Minister: Still, I believe that we must have an organi­zation which will allow us to take advantage of and to participate in the major changes which are going to occur in our economy. This Depart­ment must be well-organized for the 80s and 90s; therefore I will focus primarily on internal management for the next year.

 

Communications Express:

In the past few years you have work­ed on the development of social polic­ies and on the planning and establish­ment of priorities in the Privy Council Office? How can this help you in your new job?

 

Mr. Rabinovitch:

In preparing for a job of this nature all experience is relevant, as much of the work of DOC relates to other departments. Given that for the past several years, my work has centered on helping the government identify its priorities, I would hope that my experience in central agencies will be of assistance to the Department in defining and meeting its objectives.

 I think every Department must have a sense of itself, which means it must know its own priorities and be ready to stand up for them. But before it can defend these priorities, it must first know them and understand them. I hope that DOC'S senior management and all other participants in the Department will together define its objectives, focus them and then set about to achieve them.

 

Communications Express:

How do you describe yourself as Deputy Minister? What is your management style?

 

Mr. Rabinovitch:

Both questions are really the same question, as I see them. I believe that a Deputy Minister should work directly with the Minister to determine his priorities and make sure the entire Department understands them. I intend to run an operation focused primarily on the assistant deputy ministers and the various responsibility centres. I hope to develop a Department which communicates internally on the various aspects of policies. If there is a criti­cism I have heard of the Department, it is that it has tended in the past to operate as separate "fiefdoms", in which communications have not been as complete as one would hope.

This is probably the Department with the widest scope in government. It would be a shame if it chose to oper­ate by working in completely separate groups. Then why have it all in one department? So my objective, more than anything else, is to have an operating senior management commit­tee which will set the objectives for the Department. In turn, the senior managers will have to work with their groups to establish better internal communications. In this way, we should be able to develop better policy.

 

Communications Express:

What about the input of the regional offices?

 

Mr. Rabinovitch:

The regions are extremely important. Last year's government reorganization by the Prime Minister essentially reflec­ted that we cannot run a country like Canada solely from one centre. Rather, the regional offices must be encouraged and expected to contribute to the development of national policy. If a "national policy" is not regionally sensitive, it will simply fail. Within this Department, this holds true as well. Our regions must be active partici­pants in the policy formation process, as well as deliverers of programs. Although they are indeed a critical element in the delivery of programs because they are in contact with the public to a much greater extent than we are, that is not where their jobs ends. They must be involved in policy-making if the policy development is to be legitimate.

 

Related Links

---