In an age of increasing political polarization, The Public Office Project (POP) comprises people from across the political spectrum dedicated to improving governance. POP is an independent non-partisan research and education initiative based in Vancouver, British Columbia that seeks excellence in elected public governance, especially at the local level.

POP believes that society must constantly cultivate and support new leadership to ensure good governance by elected officials regardless of their political allegiances.

POP believes that good governance is one of the most important elements of a successful society and there is too much at stake to leave this to informal and casual processes. All of us benefit when those committed to elected public office gain insights and wisdom from those who have already lived these experiences.

The Public Office Project operates under the guidance of the Global Civic Policy Society and supports better public governance through the following activities:

  1. Recruitment and preparation of future leaders without regard to partisan loyalties through the Public Office Seminars   which provide a weekly flexible mechanism to achieve these goals.
  2. An Advisory Council of former elected officials from across the political spectrum to advise on practices consistent with good governance
  3. Public education about the Canadian form of  government and issues related to good governance and elected office.

The Public Office Seminars originated from two political opponents Bradley Shende of the BC Green Party and Sam Sullivan of the BC Liberal Party who fought each other in a political campaign.

Afterwards they got together and decided that encouraging people to run for elected office and educating the public about government was not a partisan activity. They recruited people from all parts of the political spectrum and hosted their first exploratory meeting.

After receiving encouragement from former politicians, aspiring candidates and academics the concept of the Public Office Project developed.

Recruitment and Training

A challenge that is widespread through elective governance is that prospective candidates for elected office are recruited far too late into the governance cycle and are thus less prepared than is optimal.

The Recruitment and Training function of the Public Office Project comprises four elements which are organized through Public Office Seminars,  a weekly flexible learning and sharing opportunity without regard to partisan issues.

  1. Work with the community to identify citizens with the skills, aptitudes, experience and judgement likely to excel in elected public office.
  2.  Encourage prospective candidates to consider this opportunity.
  3. Provide the prospective candidates with access to mentors to advise them.
  4. Provide the prospective candidates with resource material on governance issues.

Advisory Council

The Advisory Council comprises former public officials from across the political spectrum who advise on good governance practices and common challenges. These include issues relating to change of government, caucus relations, mental, physical, and social health, as well as considerations for life after public office.

The Advisory Council is devoted to cross partisan efforts to achieve excellence in elected public governance. It is dedicated to the British form of governance in which the ‘opposition’ is not the enemy but rather is an integral part of government.

Public Education

Governance takes place within a context. It is important that the general public is aware of the importance of good governance and the role of elected public officials in the health of the community.

The Public Office Project will explore the use of social media to educate the public about the structure of government and the role of elected public officials within it. It will also advocate for and support additional teaching of governance issues in schools.


Are you considering running for elected office? Do you have an interest in public service? Do you wish to expand your leadership skills? Or do you want to understand our governance system better from those who have lived it?  If so then the Public Office Seminars are for you.

Dates: Fridays 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM, February 15 – April 12, 2019

Location: Terminal City Club

POP recognizes that formal classroom learning has important but limited value in understanding the politics of elected governance. This is a subject that is best learned from the experiences of practitioners. For this reason the Seminars will have some formal teaching but will be mostly insights and case studies from those who have experienced elected governance first hand.

Each semester of Public Office Seminars will have ten weekly sessions designed as flexible opportunities appropriate for prospective candidates who are already fully engaged in work or community service.

Each session will take place weekly on Friday afternoon from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. The first hour will feature Guest Lecturers who are former elected officials.  They will share their insights and experiences, successes and failures and lessons learned. The lecturers will be mostly former public officials, but will also include campaign professionals and engaged academics.

The last hour will feature campaign professionals, academics and journalists who support, observe and critique those in elected public office.

All participants will be encouraged to attend Council Meetings and consultation processes as well as engage in self study on relevant topics.

Seminars will take place Friday afternoons February 15, 22, March 1, 22, 29, April 5, 12. The other weeks will be non classroom activities.

Case study sessions with former officials will include:

  • What led to public life
  • Lessons on winning and losing
  • Case studies on successful and unsuccessful initiatives
  • Examples of the role of mentors
  • High points and low points
  • Advice to prospective candidates
  • Balancing friends and family
  • Exit strategy

Formal class study topics will include:

  • Historical context on adversarial politics
  • Philosophical issues
  • Structure of government
  • Media and social media
  • GOTV getting out the vote
  • Effective public speaking
  • Ethical issues
  • Politics and the law

The cost of the program is $420 (+tax) for the 10 week semester. Some sponsorships are available for full semester or portions. To register please donate bellow and contact Julian Prieto with a bit about your background and interests.