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2012 10 11
Conservative contempt for PBO underscores need for independence

Tony Clement’s attack on the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s mandate clearly shows why the PBO needs to be independent from the government says New Democrat Finance critic Peggy Nash (Parkdale-High Park)

 “Since the creation of the PBO, the Conservatives have done everything they could to undermine its ability to do its important job of getting information to Canadians,” said Nash. “It’s time to clear the air and make the PBO independent.”

 After months of trying to get details about Conservative cuts, Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page said last week that he may have little choice but take the government to court. In response, Clement made a blustery attack on the PBO saying that information on departmental cuts is beyond the Office’s mandate.

 Nash sees the solution to avoid these showdowns and potential legal battles in making the PBO an independent officer of Parliament much like the Auditor General, and has introduced legislation to do so.

 “This is an issue that strikes at the very heart of government economic credibility and the Conservatives refuse to take the process seriously,” said Nash. “What have they got to hide?”

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Thomas Mulcair