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The Consultative Process and Trade Policy Creation in Canada: Political Necessity or Bureaucratic Rent Seeking? William A. Dymond Centre for Trade Policy and Law


Constitutional and Legislative Framework Trade policymaking is efficient because of top-down distribution of power ď Ž Canada a federal state: federal and provincial officials must work in close collaboration in areas of shared and overlapping authority ď Ž


Consulting With Canadians 

Questions of content 

bureaucratic level

Questions of policy direction  

political level

Parliament – Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade


Scorecard: Federal Mechanisms of Consultation ď Ž

Process: A-

ď Ž

Utility: D


The Exception ď Ž

Federal Website for International Trade Document Dissemination and Information: A+

ď Ž

Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Consulting With Canadians Site

www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/tna-nac/consult-e.asp


Educating Canadians ď Ž

Government an important source of information, research support, discursive direction

ď Ž

But poorly equipped for direct education


Legitimacy    

Which groups should speak on behalf of Canadians in matters of trade policy? Who decides? Is policy content sacrificed for the sake of process? Are those with direct trade-policy interests being pushed aside in favour of marginal groups?


Effectiveness Core stakeholders are frustrated about standing in line to be heard  Peripheral stakeholders frustrated when government officials seem deaf to their demands for policy change  Provinces – better, but a league of their own 


Federal-Provincial-Territorial Consultations Not just another stakeholder  Consultation the only road to implementation  Very close, ongoing collaboration through formal and informal mechanisms 


Deconstructing Bureaucracy ď Ž

The consultative process is built on political commitment and significant investment of federal resources

ď Ž

Can the system be remodeled?


Renovation Challenges Required: A system that serves political objectives of public consultation but does not sacrifice policy effectiveness Possible Catalysts: ď Ž

Business backlash? Trade crisis? ď Ž

Plus, political will to develop viable alternatives


Centre for Trade Policy and Law SR 106, Carleton University Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1S 5B6 www.carleton.ca/ctpl William A. Dymond, Executive Director


the consultative process and trade policy creation in canada: political necessity or bureaucratic...