The PBO cliff

Kevin Pages frames the decision about his successor.

His admirers — and they span the political spectrum — credit him and his bare-bones staff of about a dozen not only with speaking truth to power, but with creating the template for something wholly new in Ottawa: an authoritative financial reality check on government spending delivered in time to affect policy.

But with his term about to expire there is a real question whether that template will survive him. “The question going forward is are we going to have musical chairs or are we going to have a PBO cliff,” agrees Page. “If it’s musical chairs and someone from this office takes over it will be a seamless transition. If they decide to hire somebody that has no experience or knowledge of the budget process, we’ll go back to what existed before.”

As reported yesterday, the Library of Parliament is committed to forming an expert committee to recommend nominees for the post.

See previously: Mr. Page’s conversation with Colin Horgan and his interview with Tom Clark.