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Lecture 4

POL214Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Aisle, Treasury Board Secretariat, Parliamentary Debate

Political Science
Course Code
Nelson Wiseman

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Prime Minister
• Chair of Cabinet
• Sets Cabinet agenda and its processes
• Establishes what the consensus is
• Appoints ministers
Consequences of Prime Ministerial Power
Diminishes representational role of MPs
Diminishes representational role of cabinet ministers Cabinet has become a focus group for the Prime
Diminishes party democracy
What the Prime Minister wants done gets done, not much else
Bias toward inaction in policy making
Error free administration prevails
This is what the Privy Council’s Office (PCO) and Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) are motivated, But:
Centralization of power means things get done
Accountability: we know who to blame
Central Agencies
In 1867 Government was very small; there were only a handful of departments and no crown corporations or
regularity agencies
Today the scope and complexity is massive
So cabinet needs supports which is provided by central agencies
Department of Finance
Privy Council Office
Treasury Board Secretariat
Prime Minister’s Office (more political)
Department of Finance
Drafts budgets and all economic statements by the Minister of Finance
Advices on tax and trade policy spending and debt
Does forecasting work, sets the fiscal framework within which spending choices are made
Manages the big-ticket equalization program and oversees transfer payments to the provinces
The Privy Council Office
Headed by the clerk of the privy council, the top bureaucrat who reports directly to the Prime Minister
Briefs the PM on selection of deputy ministers, federal-provincial relations, all issues of government
Provides support services for cabinet committees
Treasury Board Secretariat
Is the employer; negotiates with public sector unions, establishes rules for hiring public
Focuses on implementation in the public service, how things get done
Formalizes the departmental expenditure forecasts
Formulate the annual spending estimates table in Parliament and motions department expending
The Prime Minister’s Office
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