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Opinion

The elusive parliamentary secretary (secretarius parlamentarius)

By Joe Jordan      

The parliamentary secretary can and should be a valuable member of the government apparatus. However, to simply assume that everyone understands how these things are supposed to work is asking for trouble, and to compound the felony, it will be trouble that is self-inflicted. The good news is that these things can be sorted out with a combination of information and understanding.

OTTAWA—One of the very real challenges that new parliamentary participants must overcome is the general lack of absolutes, and the reliance on precedent and custom inherent in the system. In other words, you have to know what you don’t know in order to know what you don’t know, and the recursive nature of this cycle can sometimes lead to problems. One area where this lack of clarity almost always causes confusion is in the role of the parliamentary secretary (PS).

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