Commissions of Inquiry

Praise or Reappraise?

Overview

Commissions of inquiry have had a significant role in the development of public policy in Canada. Historically, Canadian governments have relied on these bodies to consider broad matters of national importance, and the recommendations from these commissions have sometimes led to profound changes in the way in which we are governed. Recently commissions have been used to examine specific events such as the deployment of troops in Somalia, or contaminated water in Walkerton, as well as broader policy issues such as the future Canada’s public health system. As instruments for both ensuring public accountability and reforming public policy, commissions of inquiry have become an ingrained part of our traditions of governance.

This timely and important volume brings together leading academics and practitioners, former commissioners, and international observers in an assessment of the role and conduct of commissions of inquiry in Canada. It provides a comprehensive source of legal doctrine in relation to commissions of inquiry and it also brings a political science perspective to the function and pathology of this kind of investigative and policy-making instrument. The discussion of specific inquiries includes both criticisms and recommendations for improvement.

The book will appeal to members of the public who want to know more about this often controversial public vehicle; journalists, political theorists, and legal scholars who have become observers, fans, or critics of inquiries; and those officials who find themselves involved in the operation of an inquiry. These authors’ insights will be of particular value to those engaged in structuring and undertaking an inquiry, as well as to those individuals and agencies who find themselves within the scrutiny of a commission of inquiry.

The book has its origins in a conference held in Kingston, Ontario in 1999, sponsored by the Law Commission of Canada. The editors and the publisher gratefully acknowledge the Commission’s support.

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction - Allan Manson and David Mullan

Part One: Overview
Chapter 1: Canadian Commissions of Inquiry: An Insider’s Perspectives - Thomas Berger

Part Two: Securing Political and Governmental Accountability Through Commissions of Inquiry
Chapter 2: Commissions of Inquiry and Governmental Accountability: Recent British Experience - A.W. Bradley
Chapter 3: Securing Accountability Through Commissions of Inquiry: A Role for the Law Commission of Canada - Robert Centa and Patrick Mecklem
Chapter 4: Commentary - David P. Shugarman and Denis Lemieux
Chapter 5: Commissions of Inquiry: Some Thoughts from New Zealand - K.J. Keith

Part Three: Developing Policy by Royal Commission
Chapter 6: The Complex Relationship Between Inquiries and Public Controversy - Liora Salter
Chapter 7: The Policy Inquiry: An Endangered Species? - John D. McCamus
Chapter 8: Challenging Policy Paradigms: Women, Royal Commissions, and the Public-Private Divide - Annis May Timpson

Part Four: Who Did What to Whom Inquiries
Chapter 9: Public Inquiries and the Legality of Blaming: Truth, Justice, and the Canadian Way - A. Wayne MacKay and Moira G. McQueen
Chapter 10: Commentary - Ann Derrick
Chapter 11: Declaration of Independence: Examining the Independence of Federal Public Inquiries - Tamar Witelson
Chapter 12: Interview with Mr. Justice Gilles LĂ©tourneau, Somalia Commission Chair - Tamar Witelson

Part Five: The Methodology of Royal Commissions: How to Do it Effectively and the Legal Constraints
Chapter 13: The Bernardo Investigation Review - Justice Archie Campbell
Chapter 14: Procedural, Strategic, and Legal Constraints upon a Non-statutory Inquiry: A Case Study - Margaret Allars

Part Six: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Royal Commissions and Reforming the Processes of Royal Commissions
Chapter 15: Public Inquiries - Bryan Schwartz
Chapter 16: Commentary - Ann Chaplin

Conclusion
Chapter 17: Interrogating Inquiries - Roderick A. MacDonald
Chapter 18: Concluding Comments - Hudson N. Janisch
Chapter 19: Lessons from Walkerton - Allan Manson and David Mullan

About the Authors
Selected Canadian Bibliography
Index

Of interest...