Monday, December 1, 2008

Methods of Formal Monitoring

Two methods of formally monitoring and evaluating the change in policy would be through the use of the Canadian Human Rights Commission and through the creation of a federal ombudsperson.

The creation of a federal ombudsperson is one way to formally monitoring the change in policy. The role of an ombudsperson is to investigate complaints that are laid. This individual acts as a neutral third body in attempting to resolve these matters. He or she has a role that is independent of the chain of command as well as of other offices in an attempt to ensure s/he can avoid conflicts of interest.

When hearing complaints, this individual is to be impartial and listen to complains objectively and needs to be readily available to the constituency. The guiding purpose of the ombudsperson is a commitment to justice. As such s/he will have a consideration for the use and misuse of power and how that relates to the interests of individuals and larger groups.

The creation of a federal ombudsperson would have far reaching positive effects. There have been a few calls in the past for the creation of a federal ombudsperson. In May 2004 one report stated that the creation of a federal ombudsperson would actually help to reduce the "democratic deficit" that is apparent in current Canadian politics. In addition the Forum of Canadian Ombudsmen made a recommendation for the creation of a federal ombudsperson. If this were to happen, it would certainly help monitor the recommended security certificate policy change.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission will also be able to determine if we are meeting the goals and objectives of this policy change. One of the most important objectives is to ensure that human rights are not being violated as the country tries to purpose national security. The Canadian Human Rights Commission administers the Canadian Human Rights Act and will be central in determining if the policy change goals are met. In one research program conducted by the Commission, the results led them to recommend certain changes to the security certificate process. As such, the Commission would also be responsible for the continued evaluation of this issue after the changes have been made.

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