Front line vs. Back office

by Aaron Wherry

A day after releasing a report that concurred with the government’s long-term projections, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has released a new report that seems to clash with the government’s stated approach to budget cuts.

The Conservative government’s spending restraint is focusing on front-line services while back-office spending continues to rise, says a new report from the Parliamentary Budget Office.

That’s exactly the opposite of promises made by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who said last year that the majority of Ottawa’s $5.2-billion austerity program would target administrative and support costs without impacting service to the public.

See previously, our cataloguing of the budget cuts—now spread over several budgets—that have been reported.




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Front line vs. Back office

  1. This will probably increase the likelihood of some partisan toady getting the PBO position once Kevin Page leaves.

  2. These are precisely the type of reports the PBO SHOULD have been doing all along. Focus on the current spending out the door and not future speculation. This was a very good report and I hope it get’s the attention it deserves. Far more important than the media circus going on at the Delta Hotel.

    • Disagree. It’s the PBO’s job to provide Parliament with objective (non-partisan) analysis of government estimates and forecasts during budget debates and before expenditures are approved, not post-mortems after the budget is implemented.

      The historic problem, which the Cons claimed the creation of the PBO would address, was the absence of impartial accounts and estimates upon which elected parliamentarians could make informed decisions.

      “Focus on the current spending out the door” is already too late.

      • Post mortems, after delivery, would seem to be an area that is already well served by the AG -no need for the PBO to duplicate those efforts.

        • Exactly.

  3. The PBO just doesn’t understand. Front office is that part of the operation closest to the minister. Back office is that part the great unwashed deal with.

  4. Budget constraints justify getting rid of PBO officer and all his/her administration costs.
    Here is a position that the government ministers DO NOT HAVE to report to, and who has NO POWER to enforce ANYTHING. It is a Conservative SHOW POSITION…..DELETE.

    • Did you read the article before posting a comment? Since PBO looks out for the spending of our tax dollars, instead of just canning the position, maybe it needs bigger teeth than it has been provided.

    • It’ll only be a Conservative “show position” if they neuter its terms of reference or appoint a lap dog.

      As a source of impartial budgetary analysis, it’s one of the best expenditures a parliamentary system could make.

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