Chapter 9 Summary – The Administrative State (pg. 274-283)
•In 1867 Canada had a budget of 15 million, and the major source of revenue was
customs duties (taxes) and interest on debt was the single largest expenditure
•Henry David Thoreau: “in Canada you are reminded by the government every
day. It parades itself before you. It is not content to be the servant but will be the
master.’ Hierarchy, distinction and deference through were woven through
•Susanna Moodie believed the arrival of the lower orders in the New World caused
them to abandon proper deference that they owed their social superiors and adopt
the ‘I’m better than you attitude’.
•It was different from the contemporary state in another way, that we take for
granted state officials will be bureaucrats who are hired and promoted according
to job relevant criteria and keep their positions regardless of which party controls
•Patronage- the practice of making decisions about the distribution of public
resources based on friendship, family, and loyalty or in exchange for benefits of
various sorts – will be limited.
•Patronage is not as common today but the point is that it was normal in the 19th
Professionalization of the Public Service
•Merit principle: whereby hiring and promotion decisions were expected to be
based on such qualifications as relevant experience, academic degrees,
professional credentials and certification and other attributes deemed to be
relevant to the competent performance of the job, did not occur until the passage
of the Civil Service Amendment Act, 1908.
•The reforms of the 1908 law were limited but this changed 10 years later when
the conservative government of Robert Borden passed the civil service act 1918,
extending the merit principle hiring and the authority of the non-partisan civil
service commission (today called the public service commission) to federal
positions outside of Ottawa
•Politics-administration dichotomy: advocated by progressive reformers beginning
in the late ninetieth century, this concept involves an ideal of governance whereby
only elected politicians should make choices between competing values and
interests, choices that would be embodied in the laws. The proper function of non-
elected state officials is to implement these choices without regard for their
personal views or preferences
•Max weber: specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart
•The reforms placed strict limits on the rights of public servants to participate in
politics beyond voting. ^ They couldn’t post signs on their laws, donate money to
parties or do anything to show their party preference.
•This changed in 1967 when the Public Service employment act was passed
•Which then lead towards their recognition and expansion of rights into the charter
of rights and freedoms in 1982.
•Armed with the charter public servants went to court to challenge the limitations
on their political rights.
Here is what the courts said in 3 of the cases:
Case #1: Fraser v. PSSRB
•Neil Fraser was a public servant with revenue Canada’s Kingston office.
•He was outspoken and vitriolic in his criticism of the federal government
•After repeated warnings and suspensions from his employer Fraser was dismissed
from his job
•In challenging his dismissal, he argued that federal law concerning the dismissal
of employees made a crucial distinction between job-related and non-job-related
criticism and that a public servant ought to be as free as any private citizen to
criticize polices unrelated to his job
•The supreme court agreed with Fraser but determined that Frasers criticism
crossed the line and in fact did related to his job
Case #2: Osborne v. Canada (Treasury Board)
•Ryan Osborne was a public servant working in the Actuarial Branch of the
Department of insurance within the Treasury Board.
•He was elected by the Liberals to serve as a delegate at the parties
•Osborne resigned as a delegate after his employer warned him that he
would face disciplinary action if he failed to do so.
•He argued his rights of freedom and speech were infringed
•The supreme court agreed with Osborne
Case #3: Haydon V. Canada (Treasury Board)
•Dr. Margaret Haydon was a veterinarian with Health Canada.
•In 2001 she was given a 10-day suspension after having told a Globe and Mail
reporter that a ban imposed by the Canadian Government on imports of Brazilian
beef was motivated more by political factors than genuine health concerns
•She had been publicly critical on government health policies 2 times before one
including a warning from her employer
•If Dr. Hayden had been engaging in whistle blowing: bring public attention to
government actions or policies that she believed endangered public health or
safety, based on her careful examination of the facts, - then this would be
considered ok, but this was not what she was doing the court decided.
Efficiency and Accountability
•The struggle for the merit principle accounted for many inefficiencies because of
hiring of family and friends who were not appropriately skilled