Over several decades, the implementation of successive policies has led to a complete change of the manner in which the government of Canada regulates the public sector. The most recent reforms concerning the stakeholders governing the public service considerably influenced the political figures such as ministers.
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Evidently, the recent policy formulation and advice has lead to the emergence of the New Public Management (NPM) and New Public Governance (NPG) to regulate the government actions. As a result, the government leaders have been entrusted with responsibilities and duties. Additionally, a significant responsibility is bestowed upon the ministers in form of policymaking and implementation.
This makes it difficult for the ministers and other political figures in the government to formulate independent policies not influenced by the political situation of the country and partisan interests (Thomas 2). Moreover, the newly enacted laws seem to stunt the response to economic stimulus initiated by the government. However, the assumptions concerning the new measures to ensure accountability and transparency are not a total barrier to the functioning of the public service.
A survey by the government indicates that the expected response was not realized even with the increased government spending on the public sector. The stimulus plan did not include a strategy to monitor the economy’s response. In this regard, a comprehensive investigation and report demonstrated that the money allocated to the various projects was appropriate.
The lack of the political support for a quicker implementation of the projects was evident among the political class. The parliamentarians and municipal authorities who anticipated to be afflicted by the political implications of the failure to meet the set deadlines were pressuring the state to ease on the deadlines and allow the projects’ implementation at a slower rate.
This political pressure forced the federal government to accept the deadlines’ extension for the poorly performing projects and approve the funding of other projects as late as 2010. In 2011, the government extended the deadlines for the completion of the projects with the prime minister asserting that most of the projects would observe the deadline (Johnson 39).
An examination of the economic situation in the world and the progress in Canada in particular, indicated that the government did not rely chiefly on the political factors in order to decide on extending the deadline. However, the political situation was a major factor that could have prevented the government from making an independent decision.
The federal government officials reported that natural adverse conditions had delayed the completion of most of the lagging projects. In addition, the complexity of some of the projects was a contributing factor to the experienced delays. An Investigation of the government spending indicates that the federal authorities were accountable for most of their actions, but the existing policies and reporting systems hindered the government from conducting a proper evaluation of the projects.
The budget is another important aspect of the economy and the government’s plan for economic growth. The government formulates policies for the public sector based on the budget. In addition, the budget is the government projected spending on the public sector welfare. The effectiveness of a budget depends on the government’s policies that govern the use of money at the departmental level in the various public sectors.
One problem that afflicts the budget is the power bestowed to the political authorities over the budget. The political leaders are responsible for the budget’s planning and implementation while the experts at the treasury insignificantly influence the budget. Trust is the main basis of interaction between the treasury officials and the political leaders concerning the planning and appropriation of the budget.
For an effectively functioning public service, the policies regulating the government’s functions relating to the public service must be non-partisan for them to serve their purpose. The staffing of the public service should be non-partisan for proper functioning. A staffing system free of partisan influence is an essential component of the public service.
Recent policies seek to govern the use of different types of labor within the public service. The non-partisan policy is significant in ensuring that the public service staff is able to execute its duties with due independence free of any political interference.
The recent creation of the federal accountability act, that strictly regulates the public service actions, seems to nullify the relevance of ethics in the public service. The adoption of official policies as the guidelines to the implementation of all public service duties without including the ethical aspect of accountability in the execution of these duties poses a risk of imbalance.
However, this does not mean that the policies should be eliminated for the proper functioning of the public service, but a blend of ethics and rules is necessary for the moderate regulation and promotion of liberal operations in the public sector. A policy that ensures that the public sector relies on the set regulations in its activities will limit the flexibility that is critical for the good performance of the public sector.
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In addition, the government should be viewed as a malleable system subject to external forces and internal conditions so that the functioning of its public service arm is governed in tandem with the requirements of the current situation. The unpredictable nature of the public sector and its susceptibility to swaying by the economic and social forces requires a moderate approach concerning governance (Hubbard 2009).
Moreover, the incorporation of the human nature into governance makes it incapable of conforming to strict expectations and unrealistic requirements. Another impediment to the proper functioning of the public sector is the parliament’s effort to regulate the ministerial officials and monitor the financial situation in their ministries. The parliamentary bodies have sought to hold the deputy minister accountable for the appropriation of funds and the internal activities of the public service (Public Service Commission 4).
To secure impartiality in the public administration relationships, the government of Canada needs to reforms its public sector in such a way as to ensure the protection of the public servants from the transparency and scrutiny associated with the modern technology. The watchdog role the legislature has assumed to place the government ministers under scrutiny is retrogressive.
Moderation is necessary concerning the system that places professionals under direct control and manipulation by the political class. Although the public service has endured the effects of the political environment for long time, more pressure to conform to the whims of the politicians has been witnessed where expertise and professionalism is of cardinal importance.
In this essence, the political influence that accompanies the new public governance is a relative phenomenon. A crucial Ingredient of the governance of the public service is that it should be able to work towards the achievement of the political leadership goals when the political targets are for the public’s benefits.
However, the public service’s independence is essential to ensure that the political class does not exploit it to influence the political mood of the public in any way. The government must be cautious not to hand over the public service’s fate to the politicians since they may use it to further their agenda. Moreover, the use of the public service to achieve personal agendas may threaten its integrity.
The new public governance has given the discretion of deciding the direction of the public service to the supreme political leadership that the prime minister represents. The prime minister’s party rarely monitors him, and the partisan power can seldom remove him from his position.
Once the prime minister has assumed office, it is difficult to pressurize his resignation or limit his actions within his constitutional power. Recently, the prime minister has gained control over his deputies such that he is capable of influencing the staffing of the public service departments under the authority of the deputy ministers.
This is possible since the prime minister’s control of the deputy ministers is well established. In addition, the influence of the prime minister over his deputies is camouflaged in such a manner that it is mistaken for a public agenda. The political structure propagates this situation since the deputies close to the prime minister blindly propagate his agenda.
Some moderate independence of the deputies and the public service is necessary for the effective performance of the public service delivery system (Johnson 28). Furthermore, the ministers are not in a position to hire or dismiss their deputies. Ministers are direct appointees of the prime minister and will almost certainly respect his decisions regarding appointments no matter how pervasive they may seem.
A few radical ministers may seek to challenge the prime minister’s decision, but most of them will not express any kind of objection. Consequently, the prime minister holds immense power over the top echelon of the government. In this essence, the prime minister inevitably holds a significant influence of the public service
In some cases of the ministers and deputy prime ministers’ appointments, a consideration about whether the potential appointees are equipped with the necessary knowledge and expertise to deal with the public service issues is essential.
However, for every appointment, political considerations are made and in most cases, the political correctness of the appointment is the more prominent of the considerations. In addition, even those appointees that have sufficient professional qualification in their respective fields cannot distance themselves from political influence to match the non-partisan nature of the public service (Thomas 2).
Political institution’s appointees are non-professional staff in the public service. However, the current system allows them to seek positions as professionals with fewer odds against them as compared to the professionals who have previously not held political posts. This kind of partial judgment of professionalism seems to indicate the political influence in the public service, which may lead to the public service politicization.
Current the centralization of the public service is the major cause of the political influence in the public service. Differentiation and separation of the public service from the political class will serve to lessen the effects of the new public governance.
Hubbard, Ruth. Profession: public servant. Ottawa: Invenire Books, 2009. Print.
Johnson, David. Thinking Government: Public Administration and Politics in Canada. 3rd ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011. Print.
Thomas, Paul. “When Machinery of The Government Breaks Down.” Optimum online 39.4,December (2009): 2. Print.
Public Service Commission. Merit and non-partisanship under the. Ottawa: Public Service Commission of Canada, 2003. Print.