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Saturday, March 09, 2013

Government hides selection process for new budget watchdog

Trashing of PBO Kevin Page destroys Conservative credibilty on accountability – Mulcair.

by Samantha Bayard– With the term of Parliamentary
Budget Officer (PBO) Kevin Page almost up, the Harper government is stalling in appointing a replacement and shrouding the selection process in secret.
NDP finance critic Peggy Nash (Parkdale-High Park) said in the House: "Canadians
will be kept in the dark about the membership of the selection committee to replace Kevin Page. It is one thing after another: dodging oversight; avoiding accountability. What exactly are they trying to hide?"
Treasury Board president Tony Clement deflected blame to staff. "This process is
headed by the Chief Librarian, under a process that she is leading. We respect that
process. She is in charge of that process… Why does the honourable member not respect the Chief Librarian?"
NDP leader Tom Mulcair later scoffed at this response. "Tony Clement’s intervention
today was purely childish for him to stand there and to try to say this has something to do with our attitude towards the Library of Parliament is, frankly, beneath contempt," he told reporters. "He knows he’s playing a political game. We want to make sure we have somebody giving good information to parliamentarians so we can we make good decisions for Canadians – period, full stop. So they’ll probably send us some party hack, you know, that didn’t make it into the Senate and we’ll wind up saying no and we’ll be back to Square One and we won’t have the information that the public needs."
Mulcair says government is shredding all claims to accountability by manipulating PBO selection process.
"We know who’s on the selection committee to replace the Governor of the Bank of
Canada. It is a bit surprising that the Library of Parliament finds that its appointments
process is a notch higher and the public isn’t allowed to know," he said, "It’s quite a big concern for us. Because the Parliamentary Budget Officer of course came in as part of the much ballyhooed Accountability Act. They’ve gutted every other part of the
Accountability Act since they actually formed government so we’re quite concerned about the PBO. So it’s quite clear to us that they’re not taking it very seriously."

About Samantha Bayard

Samantha Bayard is a young journalist 

living and working out of Ottawa. She has 

been a contributor to various online news 

sites since 2009. She is an avid 

cyclist and lover of animals.
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