Published by Senator James Cowan on 22 January 2010
On January 25th, Liberal MPs and Senators will be back at work on Parliament Hill. Despite the fact that the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament, we will join our leader Michael Ignatieff in addressing the concerns of Canadians: job security and the economy, our healthcare system, climate change, the status of women, veterans’ issues, democracy and governance. For this reason, we will be holding over the course of that week roundtables and discussion panels on a variety of issues that affect the lives of Canadians. My Liberal colleagues and myself are happy to get back to work in Ottawa, as we should, and carry-out the duties with which Canadians have entrusted us.
I look forward to participating in these discussions that will feature renowned guest speakers who will bring considerable expertise to the debates. More particularly, I will be taking part in a special forum on governance, dealing specifically with the relationship between the federal government and independent agencies and quasi-judicial bodies.
The profile of our special guests for this event will range from law professors to former complaints officers and heads of government corporations, amongst them Linda Keen. Their testimony will highlight the importance of maintaining the independence of government agencies and quasi-judicial bodies.
I believe it is essential that the government and its elected officials maintain an arm’s-length approach in their management of these independent corporations. We must find a way to ensure that politics do not influence the neutral and non-partisan work of public servants, particularly those experts who lead agencies of such a complex nature as Atomic Energy of Canada Limited.
Prime Minister Harper should grasp the importance of maintaining the independence of these agencies and should trust the knowledge and expertise of the people who serve them in the best interest of Canadians. We all need to remember that goodgovernance is about more than politics.