UPDATED: Don't worry, the number-crunchers over at Finance are much better at this stuff. - Macleans.ca

UPDATED: Don’t worry, the number-crunchers over at Finance are much better at this stuff.


With Jim Flaherty’s surprise mini-budget-like-thing mere moments from being unveiled in Victoria, ITQ would just like to reassure readers that she’s almost positive that his numbers will hold up better under the scalpel-like scrutiny of Kevin Page, Parliamentary Budget Officer At Large than those put forward by certain cabinet colleagues:

Parliament’s budget watchdog has put a price tag of under $1.2 billion on the Liberal’s employment insurance proposal, showing the Conservative government “wildly overestimated” the cost at $4 billion for partisan purposes, Montreal Liberal MP Marlene Jennings said Wednesday.

The government rejects her accusation and stands by its $4 billion estimate as a “prudent” one that includes the impact on the labour market of making benefits easier to get, said Ryan Sparrow, a spokesman for Human Resources Minister Diane Finley.

Jennings told Canwest News Service a report prepared for the Liberals by parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page contains an estimated cost of less than $1.2 billion for the Grit proposal for a national eligibility standard for employment insurance benefits. That is less than the $1.5 billion the Liberals estimated themselves.

The finding shows the Conservative government distorted the price during bipartisan talks that broke down over the summer, Jennings said in a telephone interview from Montreal. A senior government official had put the $4 billion price tag on the proposal as the possibility faded of a consensus by the committee, of which Jennings is a member. […]

You know what would be helpful? If both sides would actually release their respective reports, rather than just battling it out in the press using distinctlyunhelpful phrases like “prudent” and “wildly overestimated”. Just show us the numbers, y’all. We can make up our own minds as to which numbers seem more reflective of reality.

UPDATE: Hey, way to go, Liberals:

Liberals Release PBO Report on Government Costing of EI Proposal

Event: Mr. Ignatieff will speak with the media regarding the Parliamentary Budget Officer`s report on employment insurance costing.

Date: Friday September 11, 2009

Time: 10:00am

Location: Main Foyer

House of Commons

Please note that all details are subject to change. All times are local.

Alright, over to you, government.