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Summary

Government is OF the people. It is a joint, ongoing dialogue between the public and government. It is the responsibility of citizens to be aware of and understand the issues that affect Canadians at the community, national and global levels; it is the responsibility of government to dialogue with citizens to determine how best to address these issues and to establish appropriate policies and programs that reflect the priorities and values of Canadians.

Accountability is critical for effective government and its credibility with its citizens. There are two levels of accountability: Parliament and the public service. The accountabilities between these two groups must be distinct and clear. In the main, Parliament is accountable for ensuring that policies and programs are designed and funded for implementation. The public service is responsible to Parliament for the implementation of approved policies through the detailed design and execution of programs and is accountable to parliament to keep it informed of progress and any issues affecting implementation. Both groups are responsible to citizens for ensuring that Canadians understand the implications and impacts of these programs and for informing all parties of changes in the local or global environment that may positively or negatively affect them. Flexibility must be built in so that programs can be accelerated, enhanced or terminated depending on changing circumstances and needs. Monitoring of government activities, both internally and externally by auditors and Commissioners is essential in order that variances from acceptable practices can be identified, publicized and corrective action taken quickly.

Based on the above, governments must:
• provide enlightened leadership
• demonstrate accountability for its actions
• clearly define responsibilities
• provide transparency and openness to all of its activities
• provide checks and balances to avoid autocratic or monopolistic behaviour
• implement tools and techniques for measuring accountability and responsibility in achieving results and for the efficiency and effectiveness of obtaining those results.


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