Class of January 27

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					             Class of January 27
• Who is the US ambassador to Canada? Canadian ambassador
  to the US?
• State of the Nation – McGuinty government
• Transition to a new government
• Student presentation on Obama and Harper websites
• Accountability
• Upward delegation
• Student presentation on fiscal framework
• Priority setting
             Managing the Transition
              to a New Government
• Election campaign an inter-regnum, no significant
  decisions being made
• Public service responsible to any “government of the
  day”: prepares briefing books on current context,
  implementation of platform proposals, organizational
  implications: discreet contact with party leaders and
• PM-designate: choose cabinet, his/her office staff,
  possibly some senior public servants
          Key Events in a Transition
• Swearing-in of new Government: date agreed
  between old and new Government (archiving or
  destruction of old Government’s political files), oaths
  of office for new Government before Queen’s
  representative (Governor-General for feds,
  Lieutenant-Governor in provinces)
• Canada: 2-3 week transition, UK overnight
• When to meet the legislature, deliver speech from
  the throne
• When to present a new budget
• When to present new estimates (fiscal year starts
  April 1)
          Student Presentation
• Students to compare the Obama administration
  website ( and/or with
  Prime Minister Harper’s website ( in terms
  of balance between personality and policy, branding
  and look and feel, opportunities for citizen
  engagement, social networking, language use,
  provision for disabilities, privacy policy (Anita
  Paramalingam, Durka Kumarathasan, Harshida
        Institutions of Accountability
• Ministers accountable to Parliament – question period,
  debate, media attention, committees of Parliament
• Auditor General: audit of government departments and
  programs, results made public, Auditor General an agent of
  Parliament, not the government
• Judicial inquiries, testimony under oath, report issued to
  evaluate individual behaviour, make systemic
  recommendations (e.g. Gomery Commission)
• Criminal investigations and prosecution: sponsorship affair,
  RCMP investigation about insider trading in income trusts
  prior to Liberal government announcement of tax changes in
  2005 resulting in charges against one senior public servant in
             Ministerial Accountability
                to the Legislature
• Government is accountable to and must have the confidence
  of a majority of the legislature (Martin government lost
  confidence vote in November 2005, hence 2006 election)
• Ministers are accountable to the legislature for their
  departments, i.e. their actions, those of their personal staff
  and departmental officials
• If ministers or personal staff make mistakes (errors of
  judgment, corruption, lying to legislature) the PM may “ask
  the minister to resign”
• If departmental officials make mistakes, ministers have
  responsibility to take corrective action, but need not resign
    Accountability of Public Servants
• Public servants are professional and non-partisan,
  capable of serving any “government of the day”
• Legislative committees have party representation in
  same proportions as full legislature, discussions less
  partisan and more technical than in legislature;
  public servants are answerable to legislative
  committees by giving the facts, but not defending or
  promoting the policies, decisions, and actions of the
            Upward Delegation
• What is it?
Why does Blakeney think it is a problem for politicians?
• Prevents politicians from judging wisdom of public
  servants’ advice
• Leads to overemphasis on administrative feasibility
• Wastes politician’s time
• Co-opts politician, leads to his unhappiness if
  proposal rejected by Cabinet
           Student Presentation
• Background to the budget: Students to discuss
  federal government fiscal framework (Mrinal
  Goswami, Dana Bastaldo, Yoo-ri Chung). Outline
  revenues (sources), expenditures (areas), surplus or
  deficit, accumulated debt and debt service. Look at
  current year and projections. (Finance Canada
  website, starting with Nov. 27, 2008 economic and
  fiscal statement)
                Priority Setting
Where do priorities come from ?
• Election mandate (GST cut, universal child care
• Forced on government (current recession, 9/11,
  public sector debt problem in mid-90s, 1995 Quebec
• Chosen by PM (Mulroney and Free Trade, Chretien
  and support for universities – Goldenberg, chapter
• Public opinion (Harper government’s evolving policy
  on climate change)
          How many and when ?
• Have only a few priorities
• Set priorities early in the mandate, announce
  them in Speech from the Throne
• Implement priorities quickly
• Have programs running smoothly by next
  election (e.g., universal child care benefit,
  child fitness tax credit)
           Organizational Structure for
               Complex Priorities
• Special Purpose Agency (Blakeney secretariats,
  Chretien program review secretariat, Mulroney Trade
  Negotiation Office, new federal agency –
  infrastructure office?)
• Senior minister in charge (e.g. Manley on response to
• ad hoc cabinet committee to oversee process
• Oversight from PMO (Goldenberg role)
   Organizational Structure for Priorities

• Agency or secretariat led by a deputy minister,
  sometimes from the outside
• Best public servants often seconded to the
  special purpose agency (the place to be)
        Reading for Next Week
• Visit for the budget
  REPORT08-English.pdf. Visit and read for
  Ontario Progress Report.
• Visit (scroll to bottom of page) for
  2008 Mayor’s Management Report, look at
  the press release
• Make sure you’ve done all the reading for
  previous weeks
        Student Presentation Feb. 3
• Read the New York City 2008 Mayor’s Management
  report press release and then look at the complete
  report in one area (e.g. education). For that area, are
  the objectives appropriate? Are there enough or too
  many? How are objectives linked to resources? Are
  the targets realistic? How will the recession affect
  next year’s overall report (i.e. press release)?
• (Christine To, Monica Xu, Mia Su)
             Class of February 3
•   Briefing on federal budget
•   The budget and the estimates in general
•   Results management in NYC
•   Information about mid-term

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