Sometimes good ideas survive in Ottawa - Macleans.ca

Sometimes good ideas survive in Ottawa

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It was interesting to read about Kevin Page, the new Parliamentary Budget Officer, because in a previous existence — actually near the dawn of this existence, in 2004 — I called for the creation of an office much like the one Page now runs. It was also good to see MPs recognize that, when Page’s figures disagree with a government’s, it will create uncomfortable moments for the government. As far as I can tell, that’s the whole point of having an independent budget authority.

Back when I was blue-skying the idea of a Canadian budget office, I hoped it would be intergovernmental, able to comment, from one place, on the budget projections of the federal government and all the provinces and territories. That was terribly optimistic of course. Still, it’s extraordinary that Page and his office even exist, and from what I’ve heard he is ambitious enough to empire-build and mission-creep, which means he will certainly be making news.