The IOG says farewell to a friend

3 minute read

Today we say goodbye to a good friend and associate, Gilles Paquet; he passed away last week at the age of 82. His contributions to the field of government and specifically the study of governance in all its forms live on.

Farewell Cover

Notes from Colleagues:

I first met Gilles Paquet when I was at the Treasury Board of Canada. In those days he did a lot of consulting work for the government, speaking ‘truth to power’ indiscriminately and passionately to everyone from deputy ministers to lowly contractees like me.

Most recently, in the evenings he would come to speak to our Executive Leadership Program for EX-1 federal government managers on leadership. He would arrive with typed speaking notes, to be handed out, often supported by his own Invenire publications.

He would always begin by teasing me and the IOG about our approach to leadership, and then follow with the presentation of his meticulous and logical arguments to the end. I remember one evening when he got carried away - he was always passionate about what he cared about - and his language got a trifle salty.

Reviews noted that his language was a little strong for but that the content was fascinating.

- Toby Fyfe

My first encounter with Gilles was in an MBA economics class at the University of Ottawa. I was fascinated at his ability to clarify some of the more arcane aspects of economics. But it was his storytelling that struck me most. He would weave compelling stories about how economics impacted governance, governments and citizens.

Since then, I worked with him often on several projects. He was kind, patient, and connected with people in a way that made everyone feel important. He would always end our discussions with “take good care”…said in a way that I knew he meant it.

Au revoir Gilles. You will be missed.

- Greg Richards

It would not be an exaggeration to describe Gilles as a true friend of the Institute on Governance. Ever willing to share his considerable experience and knowledge of governance in its many forms, his presence livened many Institute events and initiatives. Having Gilles in the room guaranteed lively debate and discussion. A public intellectual in the truest sense, Gilles possessed the rare talent of making the complex issues about public governance simple and relevant to the many participants in Institute conferences, learning events, and panels. He was never shy about taking an unpopular stance on issues, but was even handed in his critique of those who disagreed with him. A prolific author, Gilles many writings are foundational to much of the work the Institute developed over the years.

- Michael O'Neill

About the authors

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Toby Fyfe

Toby Fyfe


Toby Fyfe is President of the Institute on Governance in Ottawa.

For the last seven years he has led the IOG’s public sector leadership and capacity-building programs and courses aimed at providing tools and insights to enhance the skills of executives and officers at all levels of government.

He has led the design, curriculum development and delivery of multiple federal government year-long Executive Leadership Programs and Inter-Jurisdictional Executive Leadership Programs in Toronto and Nova Scotia, the latter in partnership with the Dalhousie School of Management. He also is responsible at the IOG for multi-year programs with the Government of Nunavut that build both leadership capacity and policy expertise.

Toby spent over twenty years with the government of Canada in central agencies (Privy Council Office, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat) and government departments. His last post was as Assistant Commissioner, Corporate Services at the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.

Before he joined the Institute, he worked with the Commissioner of the RCMP on a change initiative.

Toby is an Adjunct Professor of Communication at the University of Ottawa and was

editor-in-chief of Canadian Government Executive magazine for five years.

He was a broadcaster with CBC radio and television where he produced programs such as The House, Cross Country Checkup, and the first commercial-free version of Ottawa Morning.

He has an MA from the University of Ottawa and has attended the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education program.

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