Accountability Of Our Government EssayAccountability is the essence of our democratic form of government. Itis the liability assumed by all those who exercise authority to account for themanner in which they have fulfilled responsibilities entrusted to them, aliability ultimately to the Canadian people owed by Parliament, by thegovernment and thus, every government department and agency.
One of the fundamental principals of a democratic society is thegovernment must be accountable to the people. Such accountability in Canada isexercised through Parliament. Every Minister is ultimately accountable fortheir portfolio to Parliament and therefore in turn responsible to the Canadianelectorate. The realization of this responsibility is undertaken upon theassumption of office.
Accountability within government is a measure that isused to control the abuse of power by those elected as governmentrepresentatives. "The government must be able to control and protect its ownmembership to be able meaningfully to accept responsibility for its directionand impact as a government. " Without accountability we are left with a powerfulpolitical structure that has the ability to act without conscience or redressand this does not represent a modern democracy. With any discussion whichfocuses on responsibility within parliament, one can see the varying levels ofaccountability and the difficulties which arise when attempting to describepower, within the Canadian political system.Order now
Accountability in the publicservice can be studied from two different perspectives. The civil servant whorepresents the bureaucratic sector and the minister indicating the politicalsphere. The issue of accountability raises several key questions and queriesfor social scientists. Is the power of the civil servant increasing whileministerial responsibility is decreasing? What effects if any does this have onthe bureaucratic system? How does Parliament excise legislative control overthe bureaucracy? In essence, who is accountable to the Canadian people?Ministerial ResponsibilityMinisters in Canada are elected senior members of parliament who areappointed to a departmental portfolio by the Prime Minister. These offices arethe constitutional head of all public agencies, ranging from Department ofNational Defense to Department of Human Resources.
Each portfolio has a deputyminister and a team of senior civil servants who advise the minister on avariety of issues ranging from administrative procedures to policy implication. Because a minister is usually not specialized in his portfolio he usually has torely heavily on information acquired from his senior officials. ThereforeMinisterial responsibility is closely tied to bureaucrats. It may prove beneficial, at this time, to outline general procedures forpolicy making and implementation. Cabinet is the form in which new governmentalpolices are developed. These policies are then conveyed to individualdepartments through the ministers.
The implementation and feedback of thesepolicies is then the responsibility of civil servants. There are two main types of ministerial responsibility: Collective andindividual. Collective responsibilities refers to the accountability of Governmentto Parliament. The collective cabinet responsibility ensures the solidarity ofGovernment. "Ministers must be supportive of all cabinet policies while at thesame time quell criticisms of individual departments.
" With collectiveresponsibility a minister must be supportive of all cabinet policies regardlessof individual concerns especially in public. The government can thereforepresent policies to Parliament with one collective voice. This solidarityenables government to defend individual minister in the House of Commons andprotect its right to govern. The government’s collective responsibility is to have the confidence ofParliament at all times.
If at any time this confidence is questioned thegoverning party must be subjected to a vote in Parliament. Failure to win thevote requires the government to either resign or dissolve Parliament. Collective responsibility enables the government to rise, put forth policy andresign as one collective unit. Three related rules form the doctrine of collective responsibility: thatgovernment should stand or fall as one ;administration; (and not re-make itselfout of the same assembly and try to win a vote of confidence); that theadministration speaks formally to Parliament with one voice, and that ministerscollectively resign or the government asks for dissolution if defeated in theCommons on matters of confidence. This is one measure in which Government can be held accountable to thepeople.
Difficulties will arise in trying to convince back benchers toessentially vote themselves into the unemployment line, however if thegovernment fails to pass a substantial’ bill nowadays that is consider a voteof non-confidence. Opposition parties also use this accountability measure toheighten public awareness of questionable government practices or policies. Individual ministerial responsibility can be divided into two sub-components. First a minister must answer to Parliament .