OTTAWA, June 1, 2012 /CNW/ - Canada's Public Policy Forum released a report today calling for the establishment of guidelines on government formation in our country. The report, Towards Guidelines on Government Formation: Facilitating Openness & Transparency in Canada's Governance, offers recommendations on how senior government officials can help make the formation of governments, especially during periods of uncertainty, more clear, predictable and transparent.
"The roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders in the government formation process are often unclear and misunderstood in our country," said David Mitchell, President and CEO of the Public Policy Forum. "As other Commonwealth countries have done, Canadians should consider establishing a set of guidelines that clarify the process in Canada."
This report makes the case that such guidelines should be publicly-accessible and "principles-based" with the goal of clearly outlining the relevant roles, responsibilities and conventions that are central to the process.
"The frequency of federal elections (five since 2000), the recent influence of minority parliaments and confusion around issues such as prorogation or the prospect of coalition governments have all underscored the need for a better understanding of our governance processes," the report says. "The election of a majority parliament has now created the ideal 'peace-time' conditions allowing for a neutral and reasoned discussion on this important subject."
The report synthesizes the findings of two roundtable discussions and a series of interviews with former Governors General, High Commissioners to Canada, former Clerks of the Privy Council, transition team leaders, scholars and members of the news media.
Over the past year, the Public Policy Forum launched the Government Formation in Canada initiative to explore the possible utility of developing Canadian guidelines that clearly outline the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders during and immediately following an election. The study looked at the role of the Crown, elected representatives, senior public servants, the news media and the general public under such circumstances.