Ottawa's accountability problems start at the top, in the PMO (2) - 2015-08-24
Last week, we wrote about how the Prime Minister's Office has become far too powerful. Where once it was a relatively small office that handled the prime minister's correspondence, helped him keep abreast of government doings and served as a link between the leader and his party, it has morphed into a 90-person juggernaut of political strategists, "issues managers" and party enforcers who exercise strict control over cabinet, the houses of Parliament and the bureaucracy.
As a result, our government has become dangerously unbalanced. The PMO operates with an imperiousness that has grown with each succeeding government in the past 40 years. A generation ago, Pierre Trudeau said of MPs, "Fifty yards from Parliament Hill they are no longer honourable members. They are just nobodies." These days, they're nobodies on the Hill, too.
In 2015, MPs are treated as minions of the party, cabinet ministers as devices for transmitting talking points, and parliamentary committees as rubber stamps.