Defining Boundaries: The Constitutional Argument for Bureaucratic Independence and its Implication for the Accountability of the Public Service

Sponsorship Affair (Gomery Inquiry), 2006

48 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2011

See all articles by Lorne Sossin

Lorne Sossin

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: February 1, 2006

Abstract

This paper explores the constitutional boundaries which establish the basis for relations between the political and bureaucratic spheres of government. Some suggest the boundaries between Ministers and political staff on the one hand (who I will refer to together as “the political executive”), and public service managers, public officials and line employees of government on the other hand (who I refer to collectively as the “public service”), are matters of political expediency rather than constitutional principle. I believe the primacy of political expediency has created a climate with insufficient safeguards against political interference in public service decision-making. In my view, recognizing the primacy of constitutional principle would be a salutary and constructive response to the Sponsorship Affair and ought to underpin any recommendations aimed at preventing incursions against the nonpartisan character of the public service in the future.

Suggested Citation

Sossin, Lorne, Defining Boundaries: The Constitutional Argument for Bureaucratic Independence and its Implication for the Accountability of the Public Service (February 1, 2006). Sponsorship Affair (Gomery Inquiry), 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1911245

Lorne Sossin (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

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