Watchdog Kevin Page slams Harper government for budget secrecy -

Watchdog Kevin Page slams Harper government for budget secrecy


Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page says the Harper government is deliberately keeping Parliament and the Canadian public in the dark about the effect of new spending cuts, the Toronto Star reports. The cuts, outlined in the most recent budget, will reduce services across the country, and Page says this could affect everything from food inspections to airline safety.

The budget introduced in March, 2012, called for the elimination of 19,000 federal jobs as an attempt to tighten Ottawa’s belt and control Canada’s debt. The cuts, however, could have dangerous consequences, according to Page. He insists the Harper government is simply not sharing enough information about the cuts—and that Parliament will only learn about the government’s proposed changes after they have already been implemented.

Page says this backwards process makes a mockery of an elected official’s most important role; to control the use of taxpayers’ money.

Treasury Board President Tony Clement, once a vocal supporter of “open government,” says the details of the March 29 budget are being implemented gradually and that his government is following the usual practices.

Filed under:

Watchdog Kevin Page slams Harper government for budget secrecy

  1. Toney “Gazebo” Clements says his government is following the usual practices? What would those be? Oh yeah: Contempt of Parliament for withholding public documents from the Budget Officer they appointed. They’ve been stonewalling Kevin Page since the 2010 budget.

    Given Harper has increased spending by over $100B/yr (worse record than Bob Rae according to Andrew Coyne) and cut taxes by over $30B/yr, it’s no surprise they are keeping the budget info top secret: unless they have a hidden orchard of money trees somewhere they must be running a whopping structural deficit. I would bet on order of $25B.

    Of course, by the time the 2015 election rolls around that deficit will be a magical “surplus” with Flim-Flam Flaherty holding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Same thing happened when he was finance minister in ON and said a $5.6 structural deficit was a balanced budget.

    So much for the days when the Liberals were in power and Canadians could trust the government on the budget numbers.

    • during the minority period of rule, who do you suppose forced the gov’t to spend this kind of money. and no one, I mean no one has spent more of our money out of control then Premier McLiar…period

      • The Liberals and NDP forced the $40B stimulus package on Harper. But that ran out in 2010 and is no longer part of the budget.

        Harper certainly became enamored with it, however. He spent $100M/yr promoting it (which he still appears to be doing years after the funding stopped…) He also boasted it gave Canada “the strongest recovery on the planet” during the 2011 leaders debate. Not exactly true, but he obviously became a supporter of the policy…

        According to Wikipedia: federal program spending was $175B in 2005 and $279B in 2011. That’s a 60% increase.
        According to, ON program spending $76B in 2005 and $113B in 2011. That’s a 49% increase.

        What Harper is spending the money on is a mystery. He is cutting benefits and services, not raising them. He’s spending a lot on the military. The Republican war on drugs and crime import is increasing costs by billions a year. Then there is his Soviet-style information control bureaucracy that stonewalls and propagandizes ATI requests and muzzles scientists.

        There’s a lot of fat a Liberal or NDP government can cut. The NDP would reverse some of the $30B/yr in tax cuts Harper is doling out with no benefit to the economy ($14B/yr failed corporate tax cuts; $17B worthless boutique tax cuts; $3B TFSA tax haven for the rich — RRSP gives average Canadians better tax savings…)