Ethics Rules

Over the past two decades, codes of ethical conduct have become virtually mandatory in both public and private sector organizations. Codes of ethics check a number of boxes: they establish the values and principles that define the organization; they draw parameters around what constitutes ethical behaviour; and, they identify the consequences for noncompliance. Codes usually...

Government appointments and the Trudeau Government

During the general election in 2015, Justin Trudeau, the leader of the 3rd party, made a number of commitments to rebuild many of Canada’s important governmental institutions including the House of Commons, the Senate, and the “first past the post” electoral system. After more than 18 months into its mandate, the Liberal government has made...

The Public Sector Integrity Commission (PSIC) in Perspective

Currently, there are ten organizations at the federal level that function as Agents of Parliament (APs). Most of the APs such as the Auditor General, the Chief Electoral Officer, and the Information Commissioner have been in place for many years while others are more recent creations of the federal government. Over the past 30 years,...

Electoral Reform

While Canadians grapple with the meaning of the Trump presidency and its potential impact on Canada’s economy and, more generally, on global geopolitics, an important series of events are unfolding in Ottawa.  The announcement by Prime Minister Trudeau in late January that he would not proceed with his often-touted plans to reform Canada’s electoral system...

Open and Transparent Government

The Trudeau government was swept into office, in part, by promising to offer a fairer and more open government than its predecessor.  The Liberal party strategists knew that the public had grown weary of the Harper government’s penchant for secrecy in a wide range of policy areas and was looking for a renewed commitment to...

Trudeau and Foreign Affairs/ Policy

From a policy perspective, it is a challenge to predict how newly elected prime ministers will act once they take office. As a starting point, it is difficult to use past behaviour as a reliable guide since most newly elected prime ministers have had little, if any, experience as a national leader. It is also...

Treasury Board and Policy Suites

While government watchers tend to concentrate on the big policy issues, the vast majority of government officials perform a myriad of tasks associated with program delivery while others provide oversight and assessment of the appropriateness of the ways in which the billions of dollars of public money are spent. At the federal level, the day...

Reinvigorating Cabinet Committees

At the end of August, when most Canadians were enjoying their summer vacations, Prime Minister Trudeau made a number of significant changes to the structure and composition of his cabinet committees. This move was not unexpected given that the government has been in office for almost one year and the Prime Minister and his staff...

The Trudeau Government and Results

The Trudeau Government has been off and running for almost one year. Despite its third party status before the election, it has been quick out of the blocks, with wide ranging policy announcements in all sectors of Canadian society. As a general rule, Trudeau has brought a freshened view of the activist role of the...

The Deputies in the Trudeau Regime

The recent retirement of seven federal deputy ministers (DMs) reminds us of the pivotal and crucial role that the deputy minister community plays in the success of governments—particularly a newly elected one. Looking beyond the retirement numbers reveals a concerted effort by the current Prime Minister to renew the DM community by making an unprecedented...