Thomas Mulcair has written to the Prime Minister to suggest that Kevin Page’s term be extended if a new parliamentary budget officer is not in place by March 25.
The Order-in-Council appointment of Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page, will be coming to an end on March 25th, just over two months from today. We are surprised that no notice of vacancy has yet been placed in the Canada Gazette concerning his replacement. I also note that no clear indications have been given by your government on the search for the next PBO.
Given the importance of the Parliamentary Budget Officer to the work of parliamentarians, I believe it would be sensible to extend Mr. Page’s appointment until such time as a thorough, transparent and competitive search for his replacement can be completed and a new PBO appointed.
Mr. Page has proven that he has the confidence of Canadians in exercising his duties and informing the public on the state of the economy and how taxpayers’ money is spent. It is crucial that parliamentarians, who are responsible in the coming months for providing oversight on the government’s annual budget, continue to have access to the PBO’s valuable advice.
For the sake of accountability, I hope you will agree to ask Mr. Page to stay on until his replacement is found.
The Liberals have now added their general concern that the Prime Minister proceed quickly and openly with the hiring of a new PBO.
Despite working under the auspices of the Library of Parliament, the Parliamentary Budget Officer is appointed by the government. Yet even with the looming deadline, the Governor in Council appointment website does not list the position as a “current opportunity” and there has been no public notice of vacancy for the job. In contrast, when Auditor General Sheila Fraser’s term was coming to an end the government put out a formal notice of vacancy nearly 7 months in advance.
Is the government committed to having a new PBO ready to start as soon as Kevin Page’s term ends? I asked the Prime Minister’s Office. Here is the response.
We will follow the process for appointing the PBO as outlined by the Parliament of Canada Act.
Here is the relevant portion of the Parliament of Canada Act.