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Message from the Clerk

Clerk of the House of Commons, Audrey O'Brien
I am very pleased to present the Strategic Outlook for the 39th Parliament, which continues the House of Commons' new planning and reporting strategy that was developed in the previous Parliament. Let me begin by explaining how this particular approach came into being.

In the past, in much the same way as government departments and agencies reported annually on their plans and priorities and on their accomplishments, the House of Commons Administration reported annually on how it had supported the work of Members of Parliament and how it planned to improve such support in the future. However, tying these documents to the fiscal year made for awkward overlaps and repetitions since the House of Commons Administration naturally plans its proposals for the future over the life of a Parliament, favouring a more long-term and strategic approach. In time, it was decided to reflect this reality in the Administration's planning documents, tying them more closely to the parliamentary cycle rather than the fiscal year.

With the approval of the Board of Internal Economy, the House Administration decided to produce two documents: the Strategic Outlook and the Report to Canadians. The Strategic Outlook sets out the broad strategic objectives for a Parliament and identifies the Administration's major initiatives for achieving those objectives. The Report to Canadians provides the public with an annual update on Members' parliamentary activities, and the Administration's accomplishments and commitments in support of Members.

The first Strategic Outlook was published in 2004, following the general election for the 38th Parliament. The strategic objectives outlined in the document were based on the Administration's mandate, vision and values, and on the factors affecting its operating environment. Key among those factors was a minority government, increased scrutiny of public-sector organizations, and a heightened awareness of security requirements. There was also a continued focus on environmental issues, opportunities to manage information and communicate through technology, and an anticipated increase in retirement rates among employees.

Because the 38th Parliament lasted only 17 months, these key factors are still pertinent, and the environment in which the Administration operates has not changed substantially. Thus, the strategic objectives developed in 2004 remain relevant and appropriate for the Strategic Outlook for the 39th Parliament, although the major initiatives for each objective have been updated to reflect the Administration's commitments for this Parliament.

The activities outlined in this document will be carried out by the five Service Areas that make up the House of Commons Administration, under the direction of the Board of Internal Economy and the Speaker. I am confident in the abilities of Administration employees to continue to provide Members of Parliament with excellent service and to exercise sound stewardship of resources. The 39th Parliament will offer the House Administration new avenues for strengthening the institution and supporting Members in their work, and we welcome those opportunities.

Audrey O'Brien's signature

Audrey O'Brien
Clerk of the House of Commons