Kevin Page vs. the Conservative government - Macleans.ca
 

Kevin Page vs. the Conservative government


 

OTTAWA – There’s a showdown looming between the Parliamentary Budget Officer and Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.

Kevin Page has given officials in 56 departments and agencies until Wednesday to provide information about cuts and savings in the federal budget.

On Sunday, he told CTV’s Question Period he’ll take his fight for information to court if need be.

“The information we’re asking for is the information that’s actually fundamental for MPs to do their jobs,” Page said.

“If we cannot get this information from deputy ministers, we may have to seek this kind of clarity. But it was never our first option.

“We would go to court if we have to.”

But the Conservative cabinet minister in charge of the cuts wants Page to butt out.

Treasury Board President Tony Clement told CBC Radio’s The House this weekend that Page is operating outside his mandate — an argument he says he’s willing to make before the courts.

“When you look at the words in his mandate — the finances, the estimates and the trends in the national economy — it’s not about money not spent, it’s about money spent,” Clement told CBC.

Clement says it’s the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s job to look at what the government spends money on — not what it doesn’t.

“There’s lots of work for him to do inside his mandate and he should stick to that,” he said.

He said the government is accountable to Parliament through estimates, quarterly departmental reports and public accounts documents.

However, Page told CTV it’s his office’s job to look at both spending and cuts.

“We think we’re very clearly within our mandate. And it’s very important to look at austerity,” Page said.

“Sometimes what you don’t spend money on is just as important as what you spend money on.”


 
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Kevin Page vs. the Conservative government

  1. I pity the government lawyers who will be sent to court to defend Clement’s position.

  2. This would be interesting and there is no way any Judge worth while would not see that the CPC is in the wrong! Canada only has a few hero’s and Kevin Page is one of them. If the CPC has nothing to hide then why not just show him the money? lol.but of course its the one things Canadians are sure about and thats the money being spent will most likely not be accounted for this Government is crooked bent and twisted.

  3. When Flaherty was finance minister in ON he said a $5.6B deficit was a balanced budget. Long gone age the days when Canadians could trust the government on the budget numbers. Creative accounting has made a comeback, with Tony “Gazebo” Clement leading the charge…

  4. If the PBO were to limit itself to just tracking money spent, wouldn’t it essentially just become the AG’s office?

    It IS a budget office, and putting together a budget is about making choices – choosing to start funding this, keep funding that and stop [edit: stop was start] funding this other thing over here – so I’m pretty sure that Page is within his mandate.

    But if we need to go to the courts to have them settle this dispute, I’m OK with that – no big deal.

    • Kevin Page is the only watchdog appointed by the Harper Government who has done his job. He doesn’t make up the rules as he goes along. He applies international standards such as those outlined by the OECD.

      Unfortunately, the Harper Government decided to wage war against Page instead of just complying with international standards. What’s worse is that Page’s mandate is up in the spring of 2013. So all budget and fiscal accountability will go down the memory hole after Harper dumps Page and puts in a lackey who will praise the government for its book cooking efforts…

  5. The reason Kevin Page holds the title “Budget Watchdog” isn’t just to
    report the news on money that is reported. The departments he is talking
    about were directed to report their cuts and savings. The arrogance in
    not doing so is pervasive in this government. Thank you THANK YOU Kevin
    Page. You have been consistent in attempting to represent the public and
    it is at your peril. I am very sorry about that.

  6. It is clear Tony Clement is obstructing the work of Kevin Page. According to a Parliamentary Budget paper entitled, “Accountability Act and the Parliamentary Budget Offficer by Guy A. Beamuier, Economics Division dated June 29, 2006, the separation of The Treasury Board Secretariat and the Parliamentary Budget Officer is intended to ensure that budgets and spending plans are reliable. It states, “To the extent that parliamentarians are to become more effective in holding
    governments accountable for budgets and spending plans, they will require timely and reliable
    data and information. Furthermore, they will need to know that the information that they receive
    is in no way compromised. This will likely mean that the information on government budgets
    and proposals to alter spending will have to originate from sources that are independent of
    government control so that parliamentarians can have confidence in comparing that information
    with that provided by a government agency such as the Treasury Board Secretariat,
    the Department of Finance and the Bank of Canada.” Tony Clement is making a mockery of the Accountability Act.
    http://www.parl.gc.ca/content/LOP/ResearchPublications/prb0603-e.pdf

  7. Kevin Page should run for the Liberal leadership. By the way, there’s a Facebook page “Canadians in Support of Kevin Page”