Breaking the Bargain: Public Servants, Ministers, and Parliament

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University of Toronto Press, 2003 - Political Science - 337 pages
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Canada's machinery of government is out of joint. In Breaking the Bargain, Donald J. Savoie reveals how the traditional deal struck between politicians and career officials that underpins the workings of our national political and administrative process is today being challenged. He argues that the role of bureaucracy within the Canadian political machine has never been properly defined, that the relationship between elected and permanent government officials is increasingly problematic, and that the public service cannot function if it is expected to be both independent of, and subordinate to, elected officials.

While the public service attempts to define its own political sphere, the House of Commons is also in flux: the prime minister and his close advisors wield ever more power, and cabinet no longer occupies the policy ground to which it is entitled. Ministers, who have traditionally been able to develop their own roles, have increasingly lost their autonomy. Federal departmental structures are crumbling, giving way to a new model that eschews boundaries in favour of sharing policy and program space with outsiders. The implications of this functional shift are profound, having a deep impact on how public policies are struck, how government operates, and, ultimately, the capacity for accountability.

  

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Contents

The Bargain Then and Now
3
Foundations
21
Creating a Nonpartisan Civil Service
23
The Traditional Bargain
40
Life in the Village
62
Tables
77
Code Red 1980s and 1990s
81
Diagnosing the Patient
83
Looking Elsewhere for Policy Advice
103
Deputy Ministers and Management
132
Reconfiguring the Pieces
169
Parliamentarians Ministers and Public Servants
171
Reshaping the Bargain
206
Redefining Accountability
245
Notes
285
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Donald J. Savoie holds the Clément-Cormier Chair in Economic Development at Université de Moncton.

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