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Representation and Accountability

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Actors, Interests and Lobbying
Administration and Governance
Administrative Law and Constitutional Checks on the Executive
All-Powerful Leaders?: The Concentration of Power in Modern Executives
Bureaucracy and the Formulation of Public Policy
Canadian Intergovernmental Structures and Operating Processes
Conceptual and Theoretical Foundations of Third Sector Governance and Management
Courts, Judicial Review, Rights and Democracy
Emergence of the Nation State
Executive Authority, Cabinet and Leadership
Executive Leadership in Government
Executive-Legislative Relations
Federal-Provincial Fiscal Relations
Federal-Provincial-Municipal Relations
Game Theory and Rational Institutionalism
Indigenous Rights and Institutions
Institutional Architecture: Federalism
Institutional Designs and Paths
Machinery of Government
Media, Framing and Agenda Setting
New Public Management
Parliamentary, Presidential and Decentralized Unitary Systems
Political and Administrative Responsibilities
Political and Administrative Responsibilities
Political Parties and Elections
Probing the Accuracy of Rational Decision Making Models: Alternative Accounts
Public and Para-Public Institutions
Public Institutions, Organizing Principles and Democratic Control
Public Opinion, Ideas and Policy Frames
Representation and Accountability
Representation and Responsiveness
Representation, Accountability and Policy
The Architecture of the Canadian State
The Bureaucracy and Bureaucratic Behaviour
The Changing Role of the State
The Democratic Deficit: Ethics, Responsiveness and Performance
The International Context of Domestic Institutions
The Policy Cycle
The Political Context of Policy Making
Weber: Rationalization and Bureaucracy
Westminster Parliamentary Systems
Who are the Players in the Policy Process?

A Teaching Topic in Democratic Institutions and Policy Process 

Representation and Accountability

This teaching topic deals with the ways in which the people exercise democratic control over the government. This topic also covers specific electoral rules and conventions governing electoral mandates in Canada and the United States. Specifically, this topic also introduces students to the interactions between lobby and interest groups, the media, an engaged citizenry, the bureaucracy, and the political executive, and how these interactions may impact such things as agenda-setting, governance, and policy instrument selection.

Core Concepts associated with this Topic: Citizen Engagement; Public Interest; Citizen Participation; Citizens; Citizenship; Democracy; Direct vs. Indirect Democracy; Representative Democracy.

Topic Learning Outcome: Upon mastering this topic, students will understand how the people hold governments accountable under the Westminster parliamentary system, and the mechanisms through which public preferences are channeled into policy actions. Students will be able to explain the role of interest groups, the media and engaged citizens in the policy process, and will understand the opportunities and constraints such actors face in their efforts to see their policy preferences enacted by governments.

Recommended Readings

U of T PPG1000

Aucoin, P., Smith, J., Dinsdale, G. (2004). Responsible Government: Clarifying Essentials, Dispelling

Myths and Exploring Change. Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Management Development. Available online:

Johnson, D. (2011). Chapter 3. “Institutions of Governance”, pp.105-156 in Thinking Government: Public Administration and Politics in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Griffith, A. (June, 2013). Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism. Optimum Online. Vol. 43, Issue 2.

Skogstad, G. (2003). Who Governs? Who Should Govern?: Political Authority and Legitimacy in Canada in the Twenty-First Century. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 36(5): 955-973.

Kernaghan, K. (2000). The Post-Bureaucratic Organization and Public Service Values. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 66(1): 91-104.

David Zussman (2010). “The Precarious State of the Federal Public Service: Prospects for Renewal”, in G. Bruce Doern and Christopher Stoney (eds.), How Ottawa Spends 2010-2011: Recession, Realignment and the New Deficit Era, Montreal and Kingston, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 219-242.

Savoie, D. (2010). “Revisiting Governing From The Centre”, pp. 129-151, In Power Where Is It? Montreal-Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Harvard DPI101A

Thomas E. Patterson, We the People (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011) 7e, pp. 546-550; 8e, pp. 544-558; 9e, pp. 537-544

University of Ottawa API5116

Johnson, ch.2: “Ideologies of Government and Public Service,”, pp. 59-104

Urbinati, Nadia and Mark E. Warren (2008).  “The Concept of Representation in Contemporary Democratic Theory” in Annual Review of Political Science, vol. 11: 387-412.

Savoie, Donald (2010).  “The Shifting Power of Persuasion: Political Parties, the Media, Permanent Political Campaigns, and Polls”, in Power: Where is it? Montreal and Kingston, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 86-105. HN 49.P6 S29 2010

Heard, Andrew (2009).  “The Governor-General’s decision to Prorogue Parliament: Parliamentary Democracy Defended or Endangered?” Points of View no. 7, University of Alberta: Centre for Constitutional Studies.

Hogg, Peter W. (2009). “Prorogation and the Power of the Governor General” in National Journal of Constitutional Law, supp. Constitutional  Update 2009, vol. 27 (2009): 193-203.

Mendelsohn, Matthew (2010).  Some Are More Equal than Others: Canadian Political representation in Comparative Context (Mowat Centre Research Note). Toronto: Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation.

Baum, Matthew A. and Philip B.K. Potter (2008).  “The Relationships between Mass Media, Public Opinion, and Foreign Policy: Toward a Theoretical Synthesis,” Annual Review of Political Science, vol. 11: 39-65.

Kaiser, Andre (2008).  “Parliamentary Opposition in Westminster Democracies: Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand” in The Journal of Legislative Studies, vol. 14, no. ½: 20-45.

Pearse, Hilary and Mark E. Warren, editors (2008). Citizens Assembly Designing Deliberative Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ch. 1, 2. JL 438.D47 2008

Johnson, chapter 9: “Acco untability: Responsibility, Responsiveness, and Ethics,” pp. 423—466.

Thomas, Paul G. (2008). “The Swirling Meanings and Practices of Accountability in Canadian Government” in David Siegel and Ken Rasmussen, editors, Professionalism and Public Service: Essays in Honour of Kenneth Kernaghan. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, pp.34—62. JL 75 .P758 2008

Heintzman, Ralph (2007). “Public-Service Values and Ethics: Dead End or Strong Foundation?” in Canadian Public Administration, vol. 50, no (Winter 2007): 573—602.

Grant, R.W. and R.O. Keohane (2005). “Accountability and Abuses of Power in World Politics” in American Political Science Review, vol. 99, no.1: 29—43.

Grigorescu Alexandru (2008). “Horizontal Accountability in Intergovernmental Organizations” in Ethics & International Affairs, vol. 22, no. 3: 285—308.

Transparency International website: ht tp://  

Aucoin, Peter and Mark Jarvis (2005). Modernizing Government Accountability: A Framework for Reform, Ottawa, Canada School of Public Service.

Wang, Zhengxu (2010). “Citizen’s Satisfaction With Government Performance in Six Asian-Pacific Giants” in Japanese Journal of Political Science, vol. 11, no. 1: 51—75.

Schneider, Sandra (2008). “Who’s to Blame? (Mis)Perceptions of Intergovernmental Failure in Disasters” in Publius: The Journal of Federalism, vol. 38, no. 4: 715—738.

Habegger, Beat (2010). “Democratic Accountability of International Organizations: Parliamentary Control within the Council of Europe and the OSCE and the Prospects for the United Nations” in Cooperation and Conflict, vol. 45, no. 2: 186-204.

Wagner GP-1022

Kraft & Furlong, Public Policy: Politics, Analysis and Alternatives, 4th edition (2013) Chapter 1

Kingdon, Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies, 2nd updated edition (2011) Chapter 1

Smith & Larimer, “Public Policy as a Concept and a Field (or Fields) of Study”

Johnson-Shoyama JSGS 801

Kenneth Carty and Lisa Young, “The Lortie Commission and the Place of Political Parties as Agents of Responsible Government” in Bakvis, Herman and Mark D. Jarvis, 2012 From New Public Management to New Political Governance, Montreal and Kingston, Queens-McGill University Press.

Fung, Archon. 2006. “Varieties of Participation in Complex Government” Public Administration Review 66(s. 1): 66-75.

Ansell, Chris and Allison Gash. 2008. Collaborative Governance in Theory and Practice. Journal of Policy Administration Theory and Practice 18(4): 543-571.

Warren, Mark. 2009. Governance-Driven Democratization. Critical Policy Studies 3(1): 3-13, available at Driven_Democratization_Corrected_Proofs.pdf

Carty, R. Kenneth. 2005. “Turning Voters into Citizens: the Citizens’ Assembly and Reforming Democratic Politics”. Queen’s University Democracy and Federalism Series.

Available at

Soroka, Stuart N., and Christopher Wlezien. 2004. “Opinion Representation and Policy Feedback: Canada in Comparative Perspective.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 37(3): 531-559.

Nadia Urbinati and Mark E. Warren (2008) “The Concept of Representation in Contemporary Democratic Theory”, Annual Review of Political Science, vol.11, 387-412.

Peter Aucoin, Mark Jarvis and Lori Turnbull (2011) “Letting the People Decide: When Elections are not Enough”, in Democratizing the Constitution: Reforming Responsible Government, Toronto, Emond Montgomery Publications, 155-202.

Peter Aucoin, Mark Jarvis and Lori Turnbull (2011) “The Prime Minister and the House of Commons: The Democratic Deficit”, in Democratizing the Constitution: Reforming Responsible Government, Toronto, Emond Montgomery Publications, 111-154.

Nic Nanos (2011) “From a nothing election to a seismic shift”, Policy Options, July Issue, Montreal, IRPP, 14-16.

Stuart Soroka, Fred Cutler, Dietlind Stolle and Patrick Fournier (2011) “Capturing Change (and Continuity) in the 2011 Campaign”, Policy Options, July Issue, Montreal, IRPP, 70-77.

Docherty, David C. (2002) “Citizens and Legislators: Different Views on Representation” in Value Change and Governance in Canada, Neil Nevitte, ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002.

Harold D. Clarke, Jane Jenson, Lawrence LeDuc & Jon H. Pammett, Absent Mandate: Canadian Electoral Politics in an Era of Restructuring (3rd Edition, 1996)

Possible Assessment Questions:

  1. How does public opinion influence policymaking in between elections?
  2. Do differences in their governing institutions effect the extent to which popular opinion influences policymaking in the short-term in Canada and the United States? How?
  3. What is the issue-attention cycle and why is this an important concept?

Page Created By: Katherine Valiquette, 21 September 2014 edited by Ben Eisen 22 October 2014.


Important Notices
© University of Toronto 2008
School of Public Policy and Governance