The Federal Court dismisses Kevin Page's case - Macleans.ca

The Federal Court dismisses Kevin Page’s case

Former PBO suffers setback

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A ruling just in from the Federal Court on Kevin Page’s appeal.

The Court concludes, notwithstanding parliamentary privilege, that it has jurisdiction to answer the questions, but declines to answer them on the grounds of non-justiciability. The Court finds that the questions posed are hypothetical and that no refusal to provide data is contained in the record before it as the Parliamentary Budget Officer has never actually requested data from any department at the instance of the Leader of the Opposition.

The reasons for judgment are here.

Update 5:33pm. Speaking with reporters after QP this afternoon, Thomas Mulcair commented on the decision.

If you read paragraphs 5 and 28 of the decision on the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s prerogatives, you’ll read a decision that comforts us in the position we’ve been taking all along, that Kevin Page had the right to demand those documents. The so-called privilege that existed of Parliament that the government was trying to set up as a barricade for him getting that information was false. That whole argument fell flat and the judge didn’t accept it. The judge did say that, however, the request should have been made for those specific documents and it wasn’t. So he said that part became a bit theoretical. But on the most fundamental aspects of the case, paragraphs 5 and 28 proved conclusively that we were right to take the case to court. It has reaffirmed the right of the Parliamentary Budget Officer to demand that information and we’re very happy with the decision we got today…

I think that this decision is so solid and so categorical that the Conservatives can’t play their game of continuing to try to shut down the Parliamentary Budget Officer, that any future Parliamentary Budget Officer will be able to use that judgment to demand the documents and everything will be fine with that. I don’t think that any further litigation is required. I think that the judgment is crystal clear in that regard.