Public Policy Forum calls for the establishment of guidelines on government formation in Canada

OTTAWA, April 12 /CNW/ - A new report released today by the Public Policy Forum highlights the need for guidelines on government formation in Canada, particularly in an age of minority parliaments.

Government Formation in Canada identifies key issues concerning the roles of the Crown, Executive, public
service and media during periods of transition and government formation. The report summarizes the
proceedings of a roundtable, held on March 21st in Ottawa, attended by public service experts, scholars and
journalists.

"This work sheds important light on several key issues in the process of government formation in Canada,"
said David Mitchell, President and CEO of the Public Policy Forum. "Most importantly, it was unanimously
agreed by our expert participants that, as other Commonwealth countries have done, Canada should produce and publish guidelines for government formation that are understood and accepted by all parties, the public service and the Canadian public."

Participants at the roundtable agreed on a number of points, including the following:

  • Current guidelines on government formation should be made public, and subject to ongoing review, and;
  • A timeframe should be set after elections within which a new government should meet the House.

Currently, Canada does not have a publicly available set of guidelines governing the processes involved in the formation of governments after an election, such as enforcement of the "caretaker convention." This makes Canada one of the few Westminster-style governments that does not have agreed-upon standards and publicly-accessible rules concerning government formation. The United Kingdom, by contrast, clearly lists such guidelines and practices in its current draft cabinet manual.

The Public Policy Forum will continue to examine key issues related to government formation in the coming months. A second roundtable, featuring international perspectives drawn from the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries, will be convened later in the spring.

The Public Policy Forum is an independent, non-partisan organization dedicated to improving governance in Canada. For further information, including links to publications and media coverage related to this project, please visit: http://www.ppforum.ca/governmentformation.

SOURCE PUBLIC POLICY FORUM

For further information:

David J. Mitchell
President & CEO, Public Policy Forum
613-238-7858, ext. 226



James McLean
Research Associate
613-238-7858, ext. 225
james.mclean@ppforum.ca

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