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POLS 2250 (89)
Chapter 11

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 2250
Nanita Mohan

Chapter 11 Ministerial Responsibility • According to the principle of collective ministerial responsibility, ministers are responsible as a group for the policies and management of the government as a whole • The cabinet must resign if it loses confidence in the legislation • This means that if individual ministers cannot support the consensus of their cabinet on a certain policy they are expected to resign from cabinet • Individual Ministerial Responsibility- refers to the responsibility of the minister as the political head of department, to answer to the legislature and, through the legislature, to the public both for his personal acts and department actions - The minister is also legally responsible for policies, programs, and administration of his department Coordination and Hierarchy • The principles of ministers responsibilities determine the nature of power relations between politicians and public servants • Aside from governor general, the prime minister and the cabinet stand at the pinnacle of the hierarchy from which authority flows down to departments headed by cabinet ministers • Hierarchy serves several important functions, one of these being ministerial responsibility: hierarchy provides for unity of command and of direction both at the top of the government(the pm, premier and cabinet) and government departments (cabinet ministers) - In other words it promotes accountability • Hierarchy facilitates coordination, with the cabinet as the central coordinating mechanism of government • Power in the executive sphere is exercised in the form of influence - This is demonstrated through bureaucratic Politics approach to policy making – this approach focuses on the individuals within a government and the interactions among them Key Role of Deputy Minister • Deputy ministers play an important role in the decision making process, that an effective means of understanding the place of public service in the Canadian political system • They support the cabinet ministers with advisory and administrative roles • Responds to the PM and his advisors on advice, priorities and other matters • Savoie- “Deputy ministers are now as much a part of the centre of government as they are administrative heads of their departments” The Prime Minister • Possess the highest power and responsibility for making and implementing public policy • Determine the political and policy parameters • Federal cabinet is located at center of political-bureaucratic relations and the PM is the central figure within the network • Court Government – the Pm makes the final decision on most important matters with the assistance of a few trusted advisors rather than a cabinet of ministers - In this case the role of cabinet is to deal with routine issues Cabinet Committees • Coordinates policies and programs to allocate financial and human resources and controlling the public service • The PM determines the existence and responsibilities of cabinet ministers - Exception- treasury board- a cabinet committee provided for in the financial administration act • Before ww2 there were only 3 cabinet committees- in 1950 committees were adhoc and created to consider specific issues referred to them by the cabinet then abolished when the job was done • In 1968 PM Pearson modified the cabinet committee system by replacing the ad hoc committees with 9 standing committees including the priorities and planning committee – which he chaired and used to set government priorities before coming to the full cabinet • Public servants were allowed to attend t
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