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Encyclopedia > Privy Council Office (Canada)

In Canada the Privy Council Office is the secretariat of the federal cabinet and the department of the Prime Minister. It provides non-partisan advice and support to the Prime Minister and leadership, coordination and support to the departments and agencies of the government.


Although PCO has grown in size and complexity over the years, its main pillars remain the operations and plans secretariats. Ops is primarily concerned with coordinating the day-to-day issues of government while Plans takes a medium-term view to the evolution of the Canadian federation. Each incoming Prime Minister will re-organize PCO to suit the policy agenda of his government. Today, PCO also includes a department of intergovernmental affairs, secretariats for global affairs, cities and aboriginal affairs, a security and intelligence unit, as well as advisors to the Prime Minister for science, national security and foreign policy.


Traditionally, PCO has served as a "finishing school" for civil servants destined for executive positions within government. Officials who spend several years gaining experience at the "Centre" and working on policy matters from the perspective of the Prime Minister return to their home departments with a greater appreciation of government operations at the corporate level. Aside from senior positions within the civil service, PCO alumni have gone on to pursue successful careers in business and politics. They include Paul Tellier, CEO of Bombardier, Michael Sabia, CEO of Bell Canada, Robert Rabinovitch, CEO of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pierre Pettigrew.


The head of the civil service has the title of Clerk of the Privy Council, and also serves as the Secretary to the Cabinet and Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister.


The Privy Council Office should not be confused with the Prime Minister's Office, which is a personal and partisan office. It is understood that the Prime Minister should not receive advice from only one institutionalized source. To that end, PCO serves as the policy oriented but politically sensitive advisory unit to the Prime Minister, while PMO is politically oriented but policy sensitive. Note the difference from the American model where policy and politics are fused into the single institution of the White House.


PCO is located in the Langevin Block of the Parliament buildings and surrounding buildings in downtown Ottawa.



External Links


Privy Council Office (http://www.pco-bcp.gc.ca)


  Results from FactBites:
 
Queen's Privy Council for Canada - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (966 words)
The Queen's Privy Council for Canada (French: Conseil privé de la Reine pour le Canada) is the ceremonial council of advisers to the Queen of Canada, whose members are appointed by the Governor General of Canada for life on the advice of the Prime Minister.
Their actions are supported by the Privy Council Office which is headed by the Clerk of the Privy Council as chief civil servant and the President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada as the Cabinet minister in charge.
Among the ceremonial duties of the Privy Council is the proclamation of the new Sovereign following a demise of the Crown.
Privy Council Office (267 words)
The Privy Council Office (PCO) is a prime minister's government department headed by the clerk designated (since 1940) secretary to the CABINET.
In fact no specific statutory basis for most of its functions exists; the bulk of its activities are conducted pursuant to the unwritten, conventional authority of the PRIME MINISTER and the Cabinet.
Although the PCO has its own minister (President of the Privy Council), it can be said that the PCO is the prime minister's administrative agency for dealing with the collective concerns as head of government.
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