Extending the Kevin Page Era

Tomorrow morning the finance committee will consider a motion tabled by the NDP’s Peggy Nash.

That the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance recommend that the government extend Kevin Page’s term as Parliamentary Budget Officer until a thorough, transparent and competitive search for his replacement can be completed and his successor is appointed.

The motion mirrors a request Thomas Mulcair made of the Prime Minister last month and allows for the possibility that the process for selecting a new budget officer won’t be completed by the time Mr. Page’s term ends on March 25.




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Extending the Kevin Page Era

  1. Kevin Page has been acting as the NDP lap dog in open criticism of the financial department. It may have been better to say that the acquisition of jets will cost us $1.2 billion/yr for the next 40 years compared to the $1 billion dollars it will cost us today. Instead he chose more sensational numbers like “these jets will cost $42 billion and not the $27 billion claimed by the finance department” or thereabouts. Canadians were then presented with some sensational headlines that were not conducive to the issue. We will still need jets and I am willing to bet we will still acquire the same F35s. Kevin Page has presented too many smoke and mirror numbers and has lost his own credibility as political neutral. Of course Thomas Mulcair loves numbers that are alarmist in nature.

    • So… why did the Conservatives press the restart button and start from scratch on the F35s if they did such a good job of managing the file to that point? ‘Alarmist’ projections from the PBO?

      • Because it was politically expedient. Acquisition costs are not the main thrust but it is nice to know the jets have a 40 year life span and we know the costs of maintaining them. Even if it is pure speculation 40 years out to know labour and fuel costs. It is a beggars game and alarmist in the worst way.

        • Con historical revisionism, using all the right TPs. Keep repeating this line and sound earnest, whether or not it’s even remotely relevant to the question.

          You’ve learned well from Chris Alexander. Hell, you may even be Chris Alexander.

    • In most situations, including the F35 file, where the PBO’s estimates have been seriously at variance with the government’s, Page’s numbers have turned out to be the more accurate.

      • To be fair, Page’s numbers weren’t actually all that far off from the numbers that DND had, they were just really far off from the numbers that DND decided to share with the public.

        Oh, wait, that doesn’t make DND look any better, does it?

        • So, neither the government’s nor the bureaucracy’s numbers are to be trusted.

          Further justification for the existence of a non-partisan PBO.

      • Not more accurate at all. The numbers were always correct and have not changed. Do people want to know what jets cost over 40 years. I can accept that but we currently pay about $1 billion a year to maintain the F18. To project the cost on an annual basis makes much more sense and that is what I would do for my own budget. F35 is $1.2 billion/yr projected. Nothing is drastically different.

        Al the sensational numbers were sent up to be alarmist as per my opening. There is a political theory that considers nothing but to send out alarmist messages to keep the masses riled.as seems to be the case today. Kevin has been playing into the hands of the opposition and journalists and we the public are constantly being duped into thinking one way or the other. It is deliberate alarmism and a shame politicians can’t act responsible. Be ready to crunch your own numbers and not be so ready to believe even the press.

        • Then explain why the Cons campaigned on a figure of 9 billion in acquisition costs for the F35 fleet and clung doggedly to that number (while virtually every other nation in the development consortium, including the US, was repudiating such modest estimates), then “hit the re-set button” (their own term) when their defense of that number proved unsustainable.

          What did Page’s office have to do with the Cons’ own stupid math other than demonstrate and corroborate its inaccuracies?

          As for there being “a political theory that considers nothing but to send out alarmist messages to keep the masses riled”, the Cons are consummate masters of fomenting anger and discontent, as demonstrated by their law & order agenda in defiance of falling crime rates, their ridiculous, unsupported claims about the invasiveness of the long-form census, and their utterly inane (and hypocritical) allegations about an evil “carbon tax”. All those positions are completely lacking in empirical evidence but serve to “rile” their supporters – and induce them to open their wallets in support of the Cons’ righteous crusade.

          • Alas, it seems you are a victim. The idea is to make you alarmed, right?

          • Not in the least…the victims are the ones who gasp in horror at the unspeakable evils the Cons are fighting (crime in the streets, governments counting your toilets, opposition parties that will beggar you with a dreaded carbon tax), then write them a cheque to help in their noble crusade.

    • It may have been better to say that the acquisition of jets will cost us $1.2 billion/yr for the next 40 years compared to the $1 billion dollars it will cost us today.

      That doesn’t really show how things have changed either. The best way of stating the numbers, to my mind, is to point out that the government used to say that the F35s would cost us $800 million a year for the next 20 years, whereas KPMG says they’ll actually cost us about $1.5 billion a year for the next 30 years.

      I like avoiding the 40-year number all together, as that length of time is CLEARLY Tory spin, intended to make the costs of the F-35 appear smaller than they really are by starting the costing clock back in 2010. If they could get away with it, I think the Tories would pull out the cost over 50 years, starting in 2000, to drive that cost-per-year number down even lower, all by simply adding years from the past to the time-frame, including years in which no money was spent on the project whatsoever.

      • It was the PBO that wanted to use the 40 years. The shorter the term the better but hey it isn’t going to garner headlines.

        • Technically, all that the PBO (and the Auditor General as well) wanted was for the government to FOLLOW THE RULES and to provide Parliament with the life-cycle costs of the plane. The Auditor General said that this is 36 years, and what’s more, that DND always intended to fly the planes for 36 years.

          The TORIES threw out the 40 year number by moving the timeline back to include “development costs” back to 2010. It was a neat rhetorical trick, but it’s also pretty transparent that all that does is add 4 years to the time line, years before we’ve even sign a contract, and during which, comparatively speaking, almost no money was spent whatsoever. The govenrment’s talking points use the 40 year number, no one else, and the 40 year number includes years in the lifecycle of the planes during which we’ll have no planes. Spreading the costs over 40 years instead of the 36 used by DND, the PBO, the AG, and KPMG is just a transparent effort to make the yearly costs seem lower than they really are.

          In the end, if you look at the numbers, it comes out that what the government USED to say was that the planes would cost about $800 million a year for 20 years, whereas the KMPG report says that the planes will cost about $1.5 billion a year over 30 years. Placed on the same 30 year timescale, what that means is that the government’s initial public pronouncements amounted to saying that 30 years of operating the F35 would cost $24 billion. Every auditor that’s looked at it, from the PBO, to the Auditor General, to KPMG suggests that the 30 year cost of the F35 will be more like $45 billiion.

    • Get back to work, Mr. Pollievre.

      • That’s what this is.

        • Yes and I get paid to talk to all you geniuses. I am available to the highest bidder. All the civil servants using the computer at work to read news and respond to trivia…know we can “see” you.

  2. I don’t know how the parliamentary schedule plays out this session, but I wonder if the Cons would like to ram another omnibus “budget” through the House during a convenient interregnum in the PBO?

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