OPED: Making Canada’s Agents of Parliament truly independent and accountable
By David Zussman and Alan Freeman
They audit the financial statements of government. They run our elections. They investigate ethical breaches by cabinet ministers. They study citizen complaints over threats to privacy, bureaucratic incompetence or inadequate service in our official languages. They advocate for children, the environment and the elderly. They are Agents of Parliament and legislatures.
But the “system is flawed,” as one former agent told us during the research for the Public Policy Forum’s new report, Independent and Accountable: Modernizing the Role of Agents of Parliament and Legislatures. In response to problems such as a broken appointments system at the federal level and widespread differences in how agents are governed across the country, the report recommends the system be reformed with the guiding principle that agents should be responsible to Parliament or legislatures and not to the executive.
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