2013 12 23
Lowlight #9: Conservatives hide information on budget cuts from PBO

Stephen Harper’s Conservatives had a very bad year. Plagued by an expense scandal and cover-up reaching right to the top of the prime minister’s office, Conservatives have shown they are a tired and out-of-gas government.

We are condensing a year’s worth of lowlights into a countdown of the top 15 examples of Conservative blunders, scandals and ineptitude.


“Despite the controversy that has often surrounded the PBO, the office has built up a good reputation, both domestically and internationally and gain credibility.” 

– IMF Report on Fiscal Councils, July 2013


“Unbelievable, unreliable, incredible”
– Jim Flaherty talking about the PBO in a scrum, February 8, 2012


“Neither on the basis of parliamentary privilege nor on the principles of statutory interpretation has Parliament reserved for itself the right to answer Mr. Page’s questions. That task falls upon this Court.”
– Justice Harrington, Page vs. Mulcair, April 22, 2013

In 2006, Conservatives worked with the NDP on the Federal Accountability Act to establish the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

But no sooner was it up and running – and producing reports like the ground-breaking 2008 study on the cost of the mission in Afghanistan – before Stephen Harper’s Conservatives abandoned fiscal accountability and started attacking the PBO.

What followed was more expert, peer-reviewed reports – on everything from the structural deficit to F-35’s to OAS – and more Conservative vitriol directed at PBO Kevin Page. 

Things came to a head this year when Tom Mulcair asked for an analysis of planned Conservative cuts to services Canadians depend on. Conservatives refused to share this information, forcing the PBO to take this dispute to court.

The Federal Court judge ruled unequivocally that the Parliamentary Budget Officer did have a right to this information – a victory for transparency and accountability.

Despite this, Conservatives stubbornly refuse to hand over information on their planned cuts – and the new Parliamentary Budget Officer hasn’t been willing to take this back to the court.

Canadians deserve better.

While other leaders have been missing in action, Tom Mulcair has been showing up to work on behalf of Canadians – holding Stephen Harper accountable and putting forward practical solutions to help families make ends meet.

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