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Politics of Public Money, Second Edition

Politics of Public Money, Second Edition

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 416
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  • Book Info
    Politics of Public Money, Second Edition
    Book Description:

    David A. Good'sThe Politics of PublicMoneyexamines the extent to which the Canadian federal budgetary process is shifting from one based on a bilateral relationship between departmental spenders and central guardians to one based on a more complex, multilateral relationship involving a variety of players.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6811-9
    Subjects: Political Science, Economics

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Patrice Dutil

    I welcome this new edition ofThe Politics of Public Moneywith gratitude, of course, but also with glee. Dr David Good had done great service to the scholarly community, indeed to the Canadian public, when this book first appeared in this series in 2007. With an updated version he further guarantees the relevance of this great work.

    The idea for this new edition was born at the first annual conference of the Canadian Association of Programs in Public Administration that was held at Carleton University in May 2012. David and I were admiring the wonderful new atrium in the...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xv-1)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-12)

    This book is about the politics and management of public money inside the Canadian government. It explores how decisions about public money – how much to spend, where it should be spent, and how it is to be managed – are changing in the Canadian federal government.¹ To be sure, important questions about how government deals with public money have been explored before, but the process is changing in fundamental and significant ways. Just as there is great debate over how government is changing and should change, so too there is controversy about how the government actually manages public money and how...

  6. Part One: The Changing Politics of Public Money

    • 1 Beyond Spenders and Guardians
      (pp. 15-38)

      At 8:00 p.m. on 13 June 1963, Walter Gordon, the freshly minted minister of finance, rose in the House of Commons and delivered the Government of Canada’s one hundredth budget since Confederation. He was dressed in a charcoal-grey suit with one button missing. As promised, the budget was developed and presented within sixty days of the election of the new minority Liberal government of Prime Minister Lester Pearson. Prepared in secret within the Department of Finance (with three key external advisers) and unveiled to Parliament and the Canadian public, the budget was to represent a new start. It took nearly...

  7. Part Two: The Public Money Players

    • 2 The Guardians and the Changing Role of the Budget Office
      (pp. 41-70)

      Understanding the politics and management of public money begins with understanding the budget office. Surprisingly in Ottawa there is no longer a shared view about the budget office, what it is, where it is, and who runs it. For many years the conventional view has been that the budget office was divided between the Department of Finance and the Treasury Board. In a nutshell, the Department of Finance was responsible for management of the macroeconomy and for the overall fiscal policy and the Treasury Board Secretariat for the operating budgets of programs and the general management of government. On paper...

    • 3 Why Spenders Keep Spending
      (pp. 71-92)

      Spenders are everywhere in government. The Canadian government consists of a great number of spending ministers and spending departments, agencies, and Crown corporations. In a large thirty-nine-person Cabinet, there are thirty-seven spending ministers with responsibilities for various departments, agencies, Crown corporations, and other organizational entities. Only two ministers – the minister of finance and the president of the Treasury Board – are guardians. In a smaller twenty-seven-person Cabinet, there are only two guardians. In 2004, Prime Minister Martin added twenty-eight parliamentary secretaries to this constellation, each with assigned responsibilities and all with access to Cabinet documents and decisions. All but one, the...

    • 4 The Priority Setters at the Centre
      (pp. 93-117)

      Public money goes to the heart of any government. The budgeting and management of public money is central to its credibility. “The centre” of Canadian government – the Prime Minister’s Office and the Privy Council Office – is not prepared to leave budget allocations to be determined simply through the bilateral interplay of spenders and guardians. Individual spenders have their own priorities, and they are not necessarily those of the government and may not fit with those of the prime minister. Guardians can say yes to this, no to that, and maybe to something else, but there is no natural dynamic to...

    • 5 The Watchdogs: The Barks That Bite
      (pp. 118-144)

      In 1963, when Walter Gordon was the minister of finance, Auditor General Maxwell Henderson and his office were not players in the budgetary process. Their responsibilities, as set out in the Financial Administration Act under which the office had functioned since 1951, were to report on revenues as they came in, and on expenditures after they went out. However, this was about to change. For the next thirteen years, this “embattled crusader for taxpayers’ interests”⁴ issued reports on “non-productive payments.” In doing so, he set the stage for his successor, Jim Macdonnell, to spearhead the most fundamental changes to the...

  8. Part Three: The Public Money Processes

    • 6 Fiscal Aggregates: Controlling Totals
      (pp. 147-180)

      How does the government decide how much it should spend, how much it should raise in revenue, and how large the fiscal surplus or deficit should be? In other words, how does the government set its fiscal framework – its overall level of expenditures, revenues, and the fiscal balance? Getting answers to these seemingly straightforward questions is not as simple as it might first seem. To be sure, no government starts from a blank sheet of paper with full and complete discretion to shape and then determine these three levels at will. Nor do governments simply accept the inevitability of economic...

    • 7 Budget Allocations
      (pp. 181-209)

      When it comes to allocations of public money, the key question is always the same: How does the government decide how much it will spend on defence and how much it will spend on health; how much will go to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and how much will go to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans? In fact, governments do not make decisions on these specific questions – at least not directly and explicitly. These decisions are not only too difficult for governments to decide, they are also impossible for governments to make. They are too difficult because they require that...

    • 8 Budget Implementation: Financial Management and Efficiency
      (pp. 210-238)

      The financial community may be in danger of being overwhelmed. It is faced with conflicting roles, ill-equipped to take on new roles, and vulnerable due to inadequate renewal of the community.

      Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada³ This chapter focuses on budget implementation – what happens after budget allocations are made and the budget is announced. The story of budget implementation is the story of financial management and efficiency in government; it is the story of more than four hundred departments, agencies, commissions, and other entities and their relationships with external organizations through partnerships and alternative service...

  9. Part Four: New Prospects for Public Money

    • 9 Parliament and Public Money
      (pp. 241-266)

      Some readers who have come this far will wonder why it has taken so long to bring Parliament into the picture. After all, no public money can be spent without the approval of Parliament. Others might wonder why a full chapter is required. Still others might question why Parliament needs to be considered at all, when, in a Westminster parliamentary system of government, the minister of finance does not propose a budget to the legislature for debate and change but instead announces it as a matter of government confidence for approval and passage. To be sure, the Canadian Parliament is...

    • 10 Budget Reforms
      (pp. 267-307)

      It is sometimes said that each new budget reform is a reaction, occasionally an over-reaction, to the failures of the previous reform. Yesterday’s reforms become today’s practices, and today’s practices can become tomorrow’s problems. This chapter traces the sequencing of new budget reforms on established budget practices in the Canadian government.

      Throughout much of the scholarly and professional literature on budgeting, the wordsbudgetandreformhave gone hand in hand. It is rare to read about budgeting without also reading about reform. It seems there is nearly continuous dissatisfaction with the current budget process. Read any scholarly journal or...

    • 11 Doing Better with Public Money?
      (pp. 308-334)

      It may be an exaggeration to claim that in matters of public money, politicians and public servants, and by extension citizens, get what they pay for. But it does contain an important element of truth. When budgeting was micro and bottom-up, guardians used “the carrots” of budget allocations to get information on program performance and financial management from spenders. Priorities were often the residuals of the process – the unplanned results of what emerged from the market of bilateral bargaining between spenders and guardians. Watchdogs stood on the sidelines and attempted to acquire and then apply their new and increasing powers...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 335-384)
  11. Index
    (pp. 385-396)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 397-398)