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POLS 2300 (129)
Chapter 7

Week 6 Readings - Chapter 7.docx

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 2300
Tamara Small

POLS 2300: Canadian Politics and Government Week 6 – The Public Bureaucracy Notes - In July 2009, Canada’s Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, took up their complaint and launched an investigation, which found twenty of their allegations valid - Stoddart’s success in battling Facebook was hailed around the world, as the changes agreed to will benefit all Facebook users, not just Canadians or those in Canada Bureaucracy - Bureaucracy: rule by offices and officials, first used in 1764 by Baron de Grimm to describe what he considered to be a new, undesirable, form of government - Max Weber, the development of bureaucracy reflected the focus of modern society on rationality and efficiency o Bureaucratic organization featured a hierarchical chain of command that is organized in terms of specialized promotion based on qualifications and merit - Public Bureaucracy: the staffs of a variety of governing institutions - Some public servants are heavily involved in developing policy proposals that are eventually decided upon by Cabinet and passed by Parliament - Beyond the public service, a wide variety of organizations can be found whose staffs also support the workings of the political executive The Three Sectors of Canadian Society - Public bureaucracies exist in a specific context, namely a tripartite division of Canadian society o Private Sector – (market) competitive environment and strives to maximize profit for private owners, corporations, family owned businesses or self employed individuals o Public Sector – (governmental) consists of the institutions and agencies of the state, concerned with acting in the public interest o Third Sector – (voluntary non profit) contributes to the general good of the public - Private sector frequently argues that the public sector has grown to large and is crowding out the private sector - Public sector may feel that they provide services more fairly and equitably than does the private sector - Public sector has been deeply influenced by something called the New Public Management, a school of public administration that modeled itself on private sector precepts - Third sector depends increasingly on the public sector for funding, tends to mimic the private sector in its financial practices - Public sector practices can also influence private ones, management practices in the private sector are falling more under the public model The Composition of the Public Bureaucracy - Nearly 3 and a half million Canadians are employed in the many different public organizations, the federal government bureaucracy accounts for only a small portion of total public sector employment - Andrew Graham defines government expansively, given the extensive reach of the public sector in modern times - Shadow Government: people working for the private sector under the government grants or grants to non-profit organizations The Origins of the Public Buracracy in Canada - Owes its origins to British and American sources and to the Canadian nation building ethos British Influence - Traditional British style of public administration - Whitehall Model: The traditional British style of public administration with such features as ministerial responsibility, public service anonymity and neutrality, secrecy and the merit principle American Influence - Progressive Movement: A late-nineteenth-century movement that sought to break the “spoils system” in government by making the public sector at all levels more businesslike and shielding it from the political realm, had strongest effect at the local and state levels - Canada’s first half century, government jobs were given to political supporters, public contracts went to friends of the government, political figures enriched themselves at the public expense - The Scientific Management School: The second American Influence, Frederick Taylor, a complex system of management of the production process, often associated with time and motion studies, that maintains that there is one best way to increase output, Taylor tried to promote the “knowledge transfer” the job of managers was to acquire the knowledge of work that traditionally belonged to workers and to organize it so as to make it available to current and future manager, influenced federal public administration for the better part of the twentieth century New Public Management - Ideas and practices from Britain, the US, and New Zealand influenced thinking about public administration - New Public Management: The adoption of the practices of private business in the administrative activates of government, was seen as the opposite of the traditional bureaucratic form of government, it was hailed as an antidote to bureaucratic ills which resulted in inefficient governing - Rational choice theory assumes all individuals, including bureaucrats, are self interested - Principal-Agent Theory: based on the idea that the bureaucrat who is supposed to follow the will of the minister or the legislature often uses specialized knowledge to thwart this arrangement Canadian Development - Since 1967, collective bargaining by public service unions and the adoption of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms have modified the Whitehall model - New Public Management also had an effect although not to the same extent as in some other countries Parliamentary, Executive, and Judicial Bureaucracies - There are many kinds of bureaucracies, and only one kind answer to ministers. Parliament, the executive, and the judiciary each have their own bureaucracies with a variety of specific aspects - Executive Institutions o 1) Executive departments: headed by cabinet ministers o 2) Semi-independent public agencies: crown corporations, assorted agencies, boards and commissions o 3) Alternative service delivery: variety of different methods of delivering public services - Executive Departments Headed by Cabinet Ministers o Ministers preside over executive departments (an organization headed by a cabinet minister) o Departments are financed through parliamentary appropriations, there were 21 departments o According to convention, ministers are individually responsible to Parliament for implementing the mandate that is conferred upon them in the act o Management, staffing and finances of the department, but doesn’t in fact exercise direct responsibility over the employees or finances of the department o The public service commission is given exclusive responsibility for the staffing of departments under the Public Service Employment Act o Financial administration is shared between the Treasury Board and the department’s deputy minister under the Financial Administration Act and the minister is excluded - Semi Independent Public Agencies o A government organization that has a degree of independence from executive controls and parliamentary scrutiny o Ministers will generally submit less readily to questioning in the H of C on matters related to boards, commissions, or Crown corporations o Agencies generally have more freedom from central controls in their budgeting and staffing practices - Crown Corporations o Legal entities set up by the government to pursue commercial or other public policy objectives o Type of crown corporation most Canadians are familiar with is called parent Crown corporation o Some corporations that affect Canadians daily are Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Marine Atlantic, Bank of Canada, International Development Research Centre o A parent crown corporation is a legally distinct entity wholly owned by the Crown and managed by a board of directors o Either there is a special legislation constituting the parent Crown corporation or the mandate, powers and objectives are set out in the “articles of incorpation” under the Canada Business Corporations Act o Crown corporations report through specific ministers to Parliament but the relationship between corporation and minister is not as close as is the case with ministers and departments o The reason the Crown corporations came into existence in the first place was to free them from the rules and political control that are evident in the regular bureaucracy o The minister responsible publicly outlines the agency’s general role and policy, appoints the board members, and may approve investments and borrowings as well as corporate plans and budgets, also answers in Parliament for the corporation o Three major versions of accountability frameworks for Crown corporations, outline other mechanisms for oversight and accountability for the Crown corporations o The Federal Accountability Act of 2006, “Public Appointments Commission” to assure merit based appointments to government boards, commissions and agencies o Access to Information Act to cover all Crown corporations, officers of Parliament and Foundations o Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, its “Whistleblower” legislation o Various rationales have been offered for the use of agencies, boards and ocmmissions that generally operate at arms length from government o Non-departmental form has been the alleged inability of departments to undertake business functions or similar activites and the need for the organizational flexibility that these independent agencies provide o A second reason cited is the need to take away some function from the controversial political area o A third related justification is to remove quasi-judicial functions from the political realm so that a specialized impartial body with no particular interest in the outcome can make the decisions after holding hearings in
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