Ottawa

The buck stops where?

Donald Savoie considers the new process that oversaw the latest round of shipbuilding procurement.

The process is not without implications. The anonymous public servant central to the doctrine of ministerial responsibility took a back seat. François Guimont, deputy minister of public works, was front and centre before the cameras not only explaining the process but also declaring who the winners were. Politicians were nowhere to be seen in the $33-billion announcement. Indeed, the first politician to appear on camera was an opposition MP applauding the process and declaring victory. Prime ministers and cabinet ministers of eras past must have given their heads a shake at the sight.

The process also raises a number of fundamental questions. What if we discover down the road that the process or the decision was flawed? Who will be responsible and answerable before Parliament? The minister or the deputy minister?