The PMO is responsible for press and public relations, the PM's large correspondence, speaking engagements, etc; it advises on candidates for appointment to the numerous order-in-council appointees, eg, directorships on CROWN CORPORATIONS, members of regulatory commissions, on which the PM's recommendation is essential and decisive; it maintains contact with the party's officials outside the legislature and with the party caucus in the legislature; it generally serves as a listening post and a "gate-keeper" determining which matters will be brought to the PM's attention and ensuring that the political dimensions of public policies are not overlooked by the permanent bureaucracy. There is potential for overlap and competition with the Privy Council Office. The expansion of the personnel and functions of the PMO, which coincided with the prime ministership of Pierre TRUDEAU, reflected the increasingly dominant role of the PM, as head of government and head of party, and has been perpetuated by Trudeau's successors.
The inherent tension between the political party-oriented role and the policy advisory functions of his PMO staff gave rise to contradictory conclusions that either the PMO is weak and fails to provide direction or else is too strong and trespasses on the turf of other central agencies - most notably the PCO.
Author J.E. HODGETTS
C. Campbell and G. Szablowski, The Superbureaucrats: Structure and Behaviour in Central Agencies (1979); B.G. Doern and P. Aucoin, eds, The Structures of Policy-Making in Canada (1971).
Links to Other Sites
First Among Equals
Learn about the private lives and political careers of Canada’s Prime Ministers. Includes biographies, speeches, and other historical documents. A Library and Archives Canada website.
The Hill Times
The website for the Canadian newsweekly "The Hill Times." Features news and opinion about Canadian federal politics.
Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner
The website for the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner (Parliament of Canada.)
The Canadian State: Documents & Dialogue
The Canadian State Web exhibition enables students to explore the various aspects of Canadian governance and to use a set of unique "real life" activities to create their own political party. The activities cover a wide variety of Social Science disciplines: History, Civics, Law, Language Arts, World Issues, Communications, and Canada in a North American Perspective. From Library and Archives Canada.
Face to Face: The Canadian Personalities Hall
"Face to Face" features outstanding Canadians whose ideas and contributions have transformed this country. Click on the photos in "Meet the Personalities" to see their biographies. From the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Privy Council Office
The website for the Privy Council Office (PCO), which provides essential advice and support to the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Provides an interesting overview of senior federal government operations.