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10POLI 101- October 14.docx

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Political Science
POLI 101
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EXECUTIVE POWER Friday, October 14, 2011 „Court‟ Government - Background: - When Trudeau took over power in the 1960‟s there was traditionally strong Cabinet made up on strong local and provincial representatives - The decision making process was very deliberative, and it was often difficult to come to consensus, due to the influence of individual ministers - Many of these ministers were self-interested: and due to their regional allegiance, would refuse to pass bills that disfavored their province - Trudeau „rationalized‟ and streamlined the decision-making process in Cabinet - In his model, ideas and decisions would be made from bottom to top so that the Cabinet would have less to discuss, and the PM would be left with the final word Departmental Cabinet (Decision making decentralized into each departments) becomes Institutionalized Cabinet (Designed to facilitate more rational, systematic policymaking) Importance of Central Agencies PMO: Prime Minister‟s Office - Hired by the PM (partisan) - Don‟t work for the government, but for the individual PCO: Privy Council Office - Non-partisan, professional bureaucrats - Duty is to guide the PM in his decisions and provide advice - They are especially important during times of transition between governments important doing transition between governments - Help the PM adjust to his newfound power and duties Access to the Prime Minister - Central Agencies: PCO reports to PMO who reports to Cabinet and PM - PCO: Helps advise all ministries - Coordinating Departments: report to Central Agencies (PCO) - Line Departments: Report to Coordinating Departments - EG. Finance and Treasury Board Cabinet Power - Exercises executive power in practice - Executive power officially vested in the crown, however in practice it is the Cabinet who has the authority to advise the Governor General - Has the ability to create bills and make appointments - Actions are governed by the principle of Collective Responsibility - “The Las Vegas of Canadian Politics:” What happens in Cabinet stays in cabinet - Difficult to be confident in a government that is divided - Also makes accountability difficult, and who to hold responsible for actions - Collective Responsibility made possible through… (1) Confidentiality (2) Unanimity (3) Confidence Ministerial Responsibility - Responsibility of the individual minster as opposed to collective responsibility - Ministers act as a figurehead - Doesn‟t need a strong background in ministry he is controlling, be must be able to deliver on what the party wants to deliver on (their policy) - Minister responsible for the political direction of the departments (steering) - Minister accepts final responsibility for doings of the department - Begs the question: How can a minister be held accountable for the actions of thousands employed in his ministry? - Minister need not resign to accept responsibility - Can apologize; fix what problem is, depending on the situation - EG. Bernier, a former foreign affaire minister was forced to both accept responsibility and resign no account of his actions - Left confidential documents at a girlfriend‟s house, and upon their breakup his error was discovered - The girlfriend, who had a criminal background with the Hells Angels, brought forward the lost/missing documents - In this case it is easy to assign responsibility to Bernier, who resigned - He had broken the oath of Cabinet secrecy - Problems with him staying: - Sets a precedent that future errors will be forgiven, and undermines the oath of secre
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