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POLS 2300 (129)
Chapter 8

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Political Science
POLS 2300
Nanita Mohan

Chapter 8 230-251  The legislative branch shall.. o Represent the people and be accountable to them through periodic elections o Debate public issues and provide a forum for competition between political parties o Make laws  The executive branch shall… o Implement the laws o Ensure that the publics business is carried out efficiently, accountably, and in accordance with the law o Be non-partisan at the bureaucratic level, such that the non-elected officials faithfully carry out the policies of whatever party forms the government of the day  The judicial branch shall… o Be non-partisan and free form interference by the government o Interpret the laws meaning o Not substitute its preferences for those of elected public officials in matters of public policy, as distinct from legal and constitutional interpretation Executive Branch- the monarch and governor general  Queen Elizabeth II embodies the authority of the Canadian state- any action of the government is taken in the queens name- when the queen is not in the state her duties are carried out by the governor general- mainly symbolic functions  Real decision making power are exercised by the Prime Minister Prime Minister and Cabinet  Prime minister and cabinet are the center of the policy-making process  PM is the head of government in Canada- leader of the dominate party in the House of Commons  Federal cabnet- range between 20-40 members  Power of PM and cabinet- combination of factors o Written provisions to the constitution o Control over the budget o Constitutional conventions relating to the PM and cabinet  Person who leads the House of Commons has the power to decide: o Who will be appointed to, or removed from, cabinet o When a new election will be held o The administrative structure and decision making process of government o The selection of persons to a wide array of appointive positions, including deputy ministers, judges of all federal and provincial courts, senators, members of federal regulatory agencies and of the board of directors of federal crown corporations, ambassadors, etc.  The elected members of a party will tend to act as a unified bloc on most matters- if the governing party breaks ranks the government will fall  Usually have little influence on the policies adopted by the party leadership when it forms the government. 2 reasons: o The parties effort to attract a broad base of support o The absence of formal affiliations between the parties and organized interests  Stator law is not an important source of prime ministerial power- provides significant legal basis for the authority and responsibilities of individual cabinet ministers  The constitutional and statutory foundations of prime ministerial and cabinet powers are reinforced by the relationship between the political executive and the media- relationship is close and mutually dependent  Representable concerns are particularly important when a party is choosing its leader- an aspiring leader of a national political party cannot be associated too closely with the interests of a single region of the country- must be minimally competent in French (reading and answering questions in French)- as well as in English  Each new session of parliament begins with a speech from the thrown- governor general reads a statement explaining the governments legislative priorities- required by the constitution o Example- 2008 thrown speech included the fallowing goals and promises  Assuring Canada's sovereignty over the artic region, through economic, military, and diplomatic means, in the face of 'new challenges from other shores'  Continued involvement in Afghanistan with a shift towards training the Afghan army and police after 2009  Legislation to place formal limits on the use of the federal spending power for new shared- cost programs in areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction, at the same time allowing provinces and territories to opt out with a right to reasonable financial compensation if they offer compatible programs  Senate reform, including the possibility of the election of senators and limits on their terms  A promise to establish a commission on truth and reconciliation in regard to Indian residential schools  Measures to promote economic growth and protect personal and family incomes  Legislation on violent crime  Every winter the minister of finance tables the estimates in the House of Commons- expenditure budget- represents the governments spending plans for the forthcoming fiscal year  Usually every 2 years the minister of finance will present in parliament wither a revenue budget or a major economic statement- outlines the governments plans to change the tax system, economic statement provides the governments analysis of the state of the economy and where the government plans to steer it  See figure 8.3  Reliable rule of thumb: ministers are influential to the degree that the prime minister allows them to be influential and supports their favored projects and initiatives Central Agencies -central agencies- parts of the bureaucracy whose main or only purpose is to support the decision-making activities of cabinet- they perform functions such as providing cabinet with needed information, applying cabinet decisions in dealing with other parts of the bureaucracy, and communicating cabinet decisions and their implications to the public and forms of government Department of Finance  Plays the leading role in the formulation of economic policy  Almost exclusive authority over the preparation of the revenue budget, budget speeches, and economic statements delivers in parliament by the finance minister  If new policy idea originates it is unlikely to reach the legislation stage if finance is opposed  Finance within the federal bureaucracy is one of the factors that effectively reinforces the power of the PM- PM and Minister of Finance is the only member of government to be immediately involved in the process that leads up to the making of a budget or economic statement in the House of Commons  Responsible for fiscal equalization The Privy Council Office  The cabinets secretariat and a principle source of policy advice to the PM  Divided into a number of secretariats that provide support services for the various committees of cabinet o Scheduling, keeping the minutes of committee meeting to activities that carry the potential for real influence- policy advice The Treasury Board Secretariat  Administrative adjunct to the treasury board o Guardian of the purse strings o Governments voice on employment and personal matters and on administrative policy within the federal government o Authority is extensive The prime Ministers Office  Staffed chiefly by partisan appointees rather than by career public servants  Prime ministers personal staff- correspondence, scheduling, speeches, media relations, liaison with ministers, caucus, providing advice on appointments and policy Intergovernmental affairs (formerly the Federal-Provincial Relations Office)  Did not exist before 1975- functions were carried out by the PCO  Added by Trudeau because of a staffing problem  Provides information and advice to cabinet committees on issues that had an intergovernmental dimension  Exact functions depend on the PM- ex. Played a key role in the development of the Meech Lake Accord proposals  Was restructured in 1993 by PM Chretien after the liberals returned to power- reintegrated into the PCO through its Intergovernmental Affairs office.  Objectives of the office: o To provide advice and strategic planning related to national unity, federal- provincial relations, and constitutional and legal issues o To provide communications support on issues with federal-provincial dimensions o To work with the provinces and provide advice on the basis of provincial priorities, by monitoring files with intergovernmental dimensions and seeking to forge broader partnerships and new agreements with the provinces and territories to renew the federation o To develop policies with respect to aboriginals and ensure that aboriginal concerns are taken into consideration in Canadian constitutional development Prime Ministerial Government  Canadian PM has far more clout within the Canadian system of government than the President has in the American system o Due to structural differences between these two governmental systems o High degree of centralized power may be explained by a combination of personal style and the political incentives to choose more rather than less centralization  Each PM has their own preferences for decision making o Participatory process- Pearson, Trudeau o Centralized decision making style o Primus inter pares- old-style- believed to be the decision making process that PM's strive for  Risks of adopting a more decentralized approach o Decisions or publically expressed views of individual cabinet ministers might be perceived to be in conflict with other government actions, promises or policies and thus cause embarrassment to the government o Ministers will often have their own strongly held preferences on issues, but it is also well known that most ministers soon see their role at the cabinet table as that of defender of 'their' department, programs, budget allocation, etc. the primus inter pares style of collective basinet decision-making probably has a built in bias towards protection of the status quo and against change that appears to threaten the programs, prestige and budget interests of a significant number of ministers o A collegial cabinet decision-making style also is more likely to allow for the emergence of powerful high-profile cabinet ministers who may be seen by the media, within the governing party, and by the public as rivals to the prime minister 251-257 The Bureaucracy  policies aimed at supporting Canadian industry are administered though a staggering array of separate programs with their own budgets and bureaucracies at all levels of government  Bureaucracy- first formal definition in 1798- power, influence of the heads and staff of governmental bureau The structure of Canadian bureaucracy  Federal public sector employs 486000 people- 400 different organizations o 60% work directly for government departments and agencies o 20% employed by federally owned crown corporations o 20%canadian forces  Bureaucracy can be divided into 3 parts: o The public service- 50%, includes statutory departments and other organizations whose members are appointed by Public Service Commission (PSC)- employees of the treasury board- most directly under cabinet o Independent and semi-independent agencies and tribunals: perform regulatory, resource, advisory functions- (example: CRTC- Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission)- have a greater degree of independence from government, employees are not appointed by the PSC o Crown corporations- perform commercial functions and typically operate at 'arm's length' from the government of the day- hire their own employees and behave a lot like a privately owned business- over the last few decades have been privatized (air Canada, Canada national, petro- Canada) o There are smaller components of the bureaucracy- Auditor general's office, commissioner of official languages, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian forces  Almost all government departments has a policy development capacity o 1970's- formalized with the creation of policy analysis units- assistant deputy minister level  Informal policy advisory capacity has always existed at the level of senior officials- based on their expert familiarity with the programs administered by the department  Turnover rate has increased since the Ottaw
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