PAPM 2000 October 8, 2013.docx

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Public Affairs and Policy Management
PAPM 2000
Graeme Auld

Theme of institutional structure: • Who makes decisions, how etc. • Agenda setting, evaluation of the problem • How you get an issue on the agenda, how to make it gain momentum, timing is everything • Talk about the legislative function • House of Commons is the main legislative branch -> focus on the House of Commons o Has 3 functions • 1) To represent all of us, it is representatives  The only vehicle by which we can provide input into government  Formal process to have some say is through Parliament and House of Commons, makes you different than Americans where they have a vehicle for a president  They also have senators that they vote for, as well as their judges  In Canada, the only vehicle we have is HoC  Question is then, is it really representative of us? Demographically? Representative regionally? Functionally, do they actually represent the population when we voted for a particular member or candidate in our riding. We elected a member of Parliament  Say 35% actually voted for this person who represents the riding. When this person goes to Parliament, do they represent everyone or just the 35%  Do they actually represent their constituents when they go to Parliament?  In theory yes, in practice, can imagine a scenario where you are the NDP MP but the riding is made up of mostly Conservatives. Do we then represent those views in Parliament?  Clearly in the US, it is clear who represents who • 2) To in fact hold the executive accountable  Group of individuals that comprises of the cabinet who in turn looks at the Prime Minister  Rely on Parliament to hold exc. Accountable  There is a balance that is struck  On the one hand, there is a drive to hold them accountable  Is obvious in the case of the opposition, they will ask questions -> what about those who are within the governing party?  It is not entirely clear how they keep the rest of the party accountable  Have to balance the accountability function with efficiency  Having party discipline, like the Canadian one, breeds a very stable result, • We make decisions and they are implemented  Done during any crisis, can be beneficial  Have to balance that, accountability versus efficiency  Also have to balance having a strong Parliament that represents the people with that of having a strong executive, there are merits to both and it is important to strike during appropriate battles  Do you "not rock the boat" at the expense of not meeting your accountability?  Opposition can complain  When we are in the government party and you are not in cabinet, your function, what is it? • 3) To participate in Legislative functions, introducing, amending and improving legislation  They are ultimately voting on legislation •Three main functions of the House of Commons in Canada •Participating in legislative process •We have 308 seats currently •Have a chief electoral officer who decides boundries -> it is done by population How does a bill become law? •Two ways: Private Members Bill and the more traditional way, through a minister (also a sponsoring minister) o Any bill that starts with a C has been introduced in the House of Commons o May also be introduced in the senate usually starts with an S •Steps: o First reading of the bill o Took issue to cabinet committee, got the go ahead, they did homework with respect to financially there being enough money o Bureaucrats check with PCO (Bureaucratic arm of the PM) the sister being PMO o Probably went through the law, o All of this is done well in advance, goes from cabinet to full cabinet o If it is approved at this cabinet meeting, sponsoring minister has an okay to table it o PM's office controls the timing of when the bill is introduced o Have been through all of it, the cabinet is already on side, no dispute that the government supports it o Unlike the US where congressmen put forward a bill, may not necessarily have the support of not only the President's cabinet, but the party themselves o In Canada, the Bill moves forward, is already agreed to by the cabinet and party discipline, the supporting caucus o The 166 members of conservative party better be onside with it o Expectation in Canada is that you do not go out and talk about it o Every now and then, you will have a member of Parliament who will, but the media will make a big deal of it o It is a function of "if there is dissent" and if they kill the bill, if they accomplish it, it could break down the government o If opposition is smart, they will ask for a motion of non-confidence o Always disruptive to do it o At first reading, bill goes through, there is no debate, it is printed in two official languages, placed on what is called the order paper o At second reading, that is where in principal the bill is to be debated • Not talking about details of the bill, debate the spirit and the overall principals of what the bill is trying to accomplish o The Minister who supported it must be there for the bill to defend it, if not, then that is what Parliamentary secretaries are for o Speaker of the house is obligated to recognize, who from the opposition, has been designated to go up against it, usually the opposition critic against the minister o A member of the governing party can ask a question about the bill, but by convention they do not ask questions about their own bill o In theory they do not ask questions unless they've been planted questions o The minister defending it has already been prepared • Following the second reading: the House votes on the bill • Most of the time, the government votes for their own bill • Could be a motion, at one point, it was one of the • Parliamentary Committee is next, not the Cabinet Committee, depending on nature of Bill, it goes to a very specific place, one of the minister's offices • This is where you will go through the bill clause by clause, making sure things are all perfect o Oppositions may sometimes put clauses in that would say that you have to have to recheck the bill every 5 years, for example, the Anti-terrorism bill, it was put through Parliament in one week o Had to line up some support, natural allies were Conservatives to do it o Deal that was struck o If there is going to be an amended bill, it will be put towards third reading and then put to a vote • Next step is the senate and goes through the 3 readings and then committee o Committee stage is one of the best processes, they usually come to the table much more informed o The senate has no obligation to anyone, they've been appointed by a party but they don't really belong to a party o They are much more liberal in the way they approach bills o By convention or cabinet, the actual process if the senate has okay'd it, t goes back to Cabinet, it is the Queen's court that now takes it on a united front o Have full confidence of Parliament, by convention, the Queen or GG will sign it off. It is by convention o Governor general can VETO and say no, it is not in the best interest of Canada, GG can send it back, tell them to take everything into consideration again o Join committees of House of Commons and senate • Usually there is a chair, most often, there is a distribution of membership, usually by proportion of power in the government • Usually out of 12 members, they say 7-8 will be a specific party, etc. • Industry Canada's issues have been allocated to a particular parliamentary committee who has the right to not only look into the Bill and even question budgetary figures • They can go well beyond just the bill and question to operations of the budget • Usually don't have the cap
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