Dalhousie Law Journal


K. A. Friedmann


Ombudsman, newcomer, Canadian provincial government, Parliamentary Commissioner, institutionalization


The Ombudsman is a relative newcomer to Canadian provincial government.' The senior Canadian Ombudsman offices are located in Alberta and New Brunswick, both ten years old. The Nova Scotia Ombudsman has functioned for six years, and Newfoundland's Parliamentary Commissioner for a mere two years. It may therefore be too early to analyze their degree of institutionalization. The concept does enable us, however, to focus our attention on the most important questions regarding the early history of the Ombudsman institution in the Maritimes. According to S. P. Huntingdon, institutionalization may be resolved into two internal components, complexity and coherence, and two external components, autonomy and adaptability. The two most important external actors which affect the emergent Ombudsman institution are politicians, who created the office, and civil servants, who are the Ombudsman's main targets. This paper examines the attitudes and behaviour of politicians and civil servants to see whether in fact the Ombudsman is becoming institutionalized in these provinces.