'4,476 pages of contempt' - Macleans.ca

‘4,476 pages of contempt’


Kevin Page has apparently asked the government if it might turn over the electric version of the paper data it dumped in boxes on his doorstep last week. The NDP’s Thomas Mulcair appeared after QP on Friday with one of the boxes to unleash the following.

J’ai été, les trois boîtes, ça c’est les boîtes elles-mêmes qui ont été donné hier à Kevin Page.  Celui-ci, le 2 of 3 est marqué Ontario complete.  En réponse à une demande légalement formulée par le directeur parlementaire du budget, Kevin Page a reçu la réponse suivante du ministre Baird.  Il a reçu trois boîtes, 4,476 pages de documents, aucun résumé, aucune version électronique.

This is one of three boxes that Minister Baird sent to Kevin Page, Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer in response to his legally formulated request for information.  If you look at the Act that constitutes the Parliamentary Budget Officer, he has the right to ask for all information required to allow him to do his job.  There was no summary, no synopsis, no spreadsheet, there wasn’t even an electronic version, 4,476 pages of contempt from John Baird to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.  This one is marked Box 2 of 3, Ontario complete.  These are the actual boxes, although you’ll understand that the documents are no longer in them because every document and we have copies for you of one of the pages, every document is marked Protected A.  So these documents were sent to Kevin Page’s office.

I was at his office today.  I was able to see them.  It’s just a stack of information.  It’s an old lawyer trick.  When you want to bury your opponent, you simply provide them with so much written information, they can’t do anything with it.  But what’s interesting to notice that there two aspects here that are, that are very galling.  One, Kevin Page has the right to get that information.  Two, under the, under the Accountability Act, there are two things that have to be done under Section 16.4.  One is that every time you give out money from the Canadian government, it has to be on the receiving end in compliance with government policies and procedures and the Deputy Minister has to sign off on that.  Now that’s important because the information we have so far is that a lot of the receivers of this money have not complied with those policies.

The other thing is you have to have, in the exact words of the statute, effective systems of internal control.  In other words, the electronic version of this of course exists.  The only thing that he’s been encouraging is the pulp and paper industry by printing up so many papers.  But it simply begs the question by calling it protected, even though it’s public information about public money, what indeed is Minister Baird trying to protect with his schoolboy prank of sending at the very last minute, by the way, it was exactly at the same second that he was to appear before Parliamentary Committee that Kevin Page’s office received those documents.

We find it unacceptable that an institution that was created to protect the public, it’s to help parliamentarians come to correct decisions on government spending, is being treated with such contempt.