There is mounting anger at the federal Justice Department, which critics say is being allowed to undermine Canada's democratic process and exert secret monopolistic control over new legislation.
Justice Minister Anne McLellan is also being targeted for allowing a "tail-wagging-the-dog" situation in her department.
"The control that elected MPs have over policy-making is being seriously compromised," said southern Ontario Liberal MP John Bryden.
Bryden's fellow Liberal back-bench MP Roger Gallaway, a fierce critic of McLellan and her department, said McLellan's ineffective performance as minister is responsible.
"She has lost control," he said. "She's acting more like an employee of the Justice Department than its minister."
At the heart of the criticism are two controversial issues: a secret review of the federal Access to Information Act and a series of just-completed bureaucrat-controlled national consultations into custody and access to children. The consultations were effectively secret because any one participant was allowed to veto media presence.
Bryden, a long time activist for more open government, is so furious at the absence of public hearings into Access to Information that he has formed his own, unofficial, all-party parliamentary committee. The committee has no power but will hold public hearings next month in an effort to embarrass the government into doing the same thing.
The current government review of the act, being directed by Justice and Treasury Board, has been widely criticized for its secrecy - criticism McLellan rejects.
Gallaway, who was co-chair of the joint Senate-Commons committee into custody and access, says the consultations completed last month were "an affront to Parliament" and a deliberate attempt by Justice Department bureaucracy to circumvent his committee's report, For the Sake of the Children.
"The Justice Department has a total monopoly over legislation in Canada," said Bryden. "It proposes policy, writes legislation and interprets legislation for all cabinet ministers. The whole process is dominated by one single group of bureaucrats and what makes it worse is that it is a badly abused, secret Monopoly."