Canadian Government Lecture 6:
Parliament and Public
Public Administration and Bureaucracies
• Public Administration and Bureaucracies are:
1. Impartial and serves whatever government gets elected.
2. Specialized through division of labor of specific tasks. The structure
is designed around what governments want to achieve (department
of health achieves healthcare).
3. Hierarchy, so everyone has a boss and a boss’ boss, etc.
4. Rules that define people’s roles that say what people can and can’t
5. Impersonal, meaning the people working there doesn’t own what
they use (such as their desk or work car).
6. Merit based hiring, so you must be good to be hired.
• The efficiency of bureaucracies is not that good because they much follow
a set of rules. An example is at the passport office when they deny you
because you do not have enough I.D. The workers must follow the rules.
• From a democratic standpoint, bureaucracies are costly and can affect the
government because the people do not choose who is hired. From a
business standpoint it makes sense to only sell electricity to Toronto (for
example), but from a democratic standpoint everyone should get power
regardless of who lives where (rural areas must be provided power, along
• A Bureaucracy is split up into many different sections like the department
of justice, health, foreign affairs, finance, multiculturalism, and
transportation. The government can change how these are put together
(Department of immigration and citizenship vs., immigration and border
patrol); how you put it together shows how you run the company.
• Cabinet ministers are the people in charge of these areas (Peter McKay in
charge of justice). They are the highest position in each department. They
hire deputy minister, which act as the assistants for the ministers. Deputy
ministers are senior civil servants and are not elected, but are promoted
based on merit.
• It is suppose to be run like this:
o Power comes from executive authority by the Queen (or the
Governor General). They delegate their power to the cabinet