ARTICLE: Securing Accountability Through Commissions of Inquiry: A Role for the Law Commission of Canada (c) Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2001 Osgoode Hall Law School
Osgoode Hall Law Journal

ARTICLE: Securing Accountability Through Commissions of Inquiry: A Role for the Law Commission of Canada (c)

(c) R. Centa & P. Macklem, 2001. This article will also appear in A.S. Manson & D.J. Mullan, eds., Commissions of Inquiry: Praise or Reappraise (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2002).

Spring, 2001

39 Osgoode Hall L.J. 117

Author

By Robert Centa* and Patrick Macklem**

Excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION

The commission of inquiry is a time-honoured institutional mechanism for the formulation of public policy in Canada. 1 Statutory provisions for the establishment of commissions of inquiry were first introduced in the Province of Canada in 1846 2 and have become a permanent feature of federal and provincial political life. Since Confederation, the federal government has established over four hundred commissions of inquiry to examine a wide array of matters of public concern, including allegations of wrongdoing by the RCMP, challenges posed by reproductive technologies, and the social, economic and legal circumstances of Aboriginal peoples. 3 Provincial governments have also relied heavily on commissions of inquiry to examine and report on matters of public concern. Since Confederation, Ontario, for example, has established over four hundred commissions of inquiry to investigate matters as diverse as attempts to bribe members of the legislature and the development of the province's mineral resources. 4

The commission of inquiry has had a lasting presence in Canadian political life because it has performed a number of valuable public policy functions. A commission of inquiry can exercise wide-ranging investigative authority to uncover facts concerning matters of substantial public importance. A commission of inquiry also can inform and educate citizens about such matters. 5 Moreover, commissions of inquiry are often able to investigate, inform, and educate in ways superior to the mechanisms available to the judicial and legislative branches of government. The judicial process, according to the Ontario Law Reform Commission, tends to assign blame ...
 
 
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