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The PBO’s still not getting the information it wants

The interim Parliamentary Budget Officer reports on her latest plea


 

After her request in April failed to produce the necessary information, the interim Parliamentary Budget Officer asked again earlier this month for information related to the Harper government’s budget cuts, this time at the behest of the Speakers of the House and Senate. The deadline to meet that request was last Friday. Today, the interim PBO reports that, once again, she has not received what she needs to complete the analysis requested by NDP leader Thomas Mulcair. Here is her statement in its entirety.

In April 2013, I sought information necessary to undertake analysis into the 2012 federal budget. That analysis was requested by a parliamentarian pursuant to s. 79.2 of the Parliament of Canada Act. The information necessary for this purpose was requested from government departments and agencies. The first deadline for providing it came and went, and the majority of departments and agencies did not comply with the totality of my request. I informed the Speaker of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Commons. They asked me to write to the non-compliant departments and agencies again, requesting them to provide the information. That second deadline of July 19, 2013 came and went, and I have yet to be provided with all the information that I need to undertake the requested analysis. If and when I am provided with it, I look forward to performing the analysis and, thereby, discharging my legislative mandate.

It is the PBO’s mandate that seems, at least in part, to be in dispute in this case—”The Government continues to provide the PBO with information that falls within its mandate,” was the response from Tony Clement’s office when the PBO’s request in April failed to produce sufficient information—and it is the PBO’s mandate that the Defence Department recently invoked in refusing a different request of the PBO.

Update 4:22pm. A statement from the NDP’s Peggy Nash.

“Another deadline has passed for Stephen Harper’s Conservatives to hand over information about their budget cuts, but again they have stonewalled the Parliamentary Budget Officer and are trying to keep this information hidden. This is an outrageous disregard for accountability. The NDP believe Canadians should be told the truth – and that’s why NDP leader Tom Mulcair asked the PBO to study the effect of these budget cuts on the programs and services Canadians rely on.

Time and again the Parliamentary Budget Officer asked for information and the Conservative government refused. The PBO even had to take the government to court to establish that the PBO was within its rights to ask for this data. The court agreed, and yet the government continues to stonewall.”

“As for next steps on the NDP’s request, we are weighing all our options. But rest assured we will take the steps necessary so Canadians receive the financial accountability they deserve.”


 

The PBO’s still not getting the information it wants

  1. When Harper promised Canadians he would create a budget office modeled after the US CBO to ensure budget transparency, he didn’t say he’d cooperate with it.

    Promises made. Promises kept.

    • Seems more like a backhand lie.

  2. They got away with one Contempt of Parliament. Why would another one bother them?

    The realm has evolved from democracy to autocracy and there seems to be nothing to be done about it.

    • I don`t know how many times you have to be told —–one of the main reasons why Harper got a majority in the last election was that stupid, contrived,and irresponsible game-playing act by the opposition that referred to the legally elected government as in Contempt.
      Voters punish silly game-playing.
      Go ahead, try it again—-you guys seem to like banging your head against the brick wall.

      • Yeah, of course. I forgot. With the Cons, it’s always somebody else’s fault.

        • Yes, whereas Liberals never blame anyone but themselves. Just look at the regular posters on this site, they’re mostly Liberals yet they’re so hard on themselves and constantly refuse to blame the Conservatives for anything.

          • So that justifies the Cons’ withholding information from the taxpayers of Canada about how and where they’re spending our money? And you’re OK with that?

            If so, it’s certainly an odd place for Con supporters to be, condoning the worst kind of opacity in place of their once-cherished “transparency and accountability”.

            Very odd, indeed.

          • Because you asked, my answer to your first two questions is no.

          • Liberal voters are so supportive and non-critical they reduced their party to third party status. Now that’s blind loyalty for you, Bean.

          • I thought the Liberals got reduced to third party status because Evil Lord Harper robocalled all those droves of Liberal voters and told them to go to the wrong polling station. At least that’s what I read on these comment boards all the time — and the comments posted by progressive posters are the undisputed truth.

      • You’re right. Canadians were so fed up with the opposition’s game-playing that only 62% voted for them.

        • Just like they did when Chretien was PM, right lenny?

          • Indeed. Canadians got so fed up with opposition game playing during the Chretien era that only 59% voted for them.

          • So Harper is about as unpopular as Chretien was. I guess you must have seen Chretien as a mortal threat to our democracy back then, huh? He being supported by so few Canadians & all.

          • I guess you must have a hard time following a discussion, huh?

            I was responding to the claim that Canadians “punished” “the opposition for “game-playing”. The opposition Andrew is referring to was “punished” with 62% of the vote.

            It’s really not that hard to follow.

      • party above country for ever and always, Andrew.

  3. Next Harper will be using this for fundraising – help fight the intrusive public service. It will be their new gun registry. Why waste an enemy in order to keep a’ stable conservative’ government in power.

  4. Time to go back to court. The PBO should seek to charge the Ministers and Deputy Ministers with contempt of court.

  5. You know, Emily’s right — most of the posters on here are CONS.

  6. You’ve GOT to be kidding … the Harper Conservatives, un-cooperative, obtuse, capricious, opaque …. who’d’a thunk it?
    Harper Conservatives constantly campaigned on open government, and have provided just the opposite. I think they’re ethical crooks, but what do I know? I’m just a tax-paying schlep.

  7. I can see the PBO asking for information to assess the financial implications of any gov’t action.

    I can’t see the PBO offering commentary on the effect on services…that is a political question, not a budget question.

    Now, exactly what is the PBO not getting, the former, the latter or both?

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