By Aaron Wherry - Monday, April 30, 2012 - 0 Comments
Kevin Pages throws a quote on the F-35 fire.
Page told host Evan Solomon what bothered his office was that one set of books was available inside DND, while another “for communication purposes” was presented publicly, in which he said the government was “low-balling” the numbers. ”You do get the sense there were different books being kept,” he told Solomon.
Meanwhile, another major defence procurement is being restarted.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 12:33 PM - 0 Comments
The Parliamentary Budget Office suggests Parliament should perhaps be better able to do its primary job.
The scope, magnitude of measures and related management challenges associated with the Strategic and Operating Review (SOR) announced in Budget 2012 merit careful oversight on the part of parliamentarians. However, the current reporting framework does not provide sufficient information for parliamentarians to fulfill their constitutional obligation to review expenditure management information related to the SOR.
Significant ad hoc reporting has been undertaken for previous expenditure review exercises. However, this reporting (and Canada’s budgetary reporting writ large) is not adequately transparent – timely, comparable, reconciled – as defined by the OECD Best Practices for Budget Transparency.
The PBO helpfully tells parliamentarians how they might fix the process.
In other news, it has now been precisely 13 months since the House of Commons adopted an unprecedented finding of contempt as the result of a dispute over Parliament’s right to demand information about the financial repercussions of government actions.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
The Parliamentary Budget Officer has written to the deputy minister at Defence.
We have received a new request from a parliamentarian under Section 72.9 (d) of the Parliament of Canada Act (Act), requesting the PBO to undertake an update of the life cycle cost estimate of the F-35. Pursuant to the PBO’s statutory authority under Section 79.3 of the Act, I would like to request that DND provide information and documents that provide a full life cycle cost of the F-35 aircraft with life cycle cost being defined in the DND Costing Handbook (Annex I).
Further we would encourage DND to assume in its analysis, the Average Unit Procurement Cost (AUPC) published by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the United States Congress. The last published figure for AUPC is $137 million per aircraft for all variants in GAO’s report on March 20, 2012 (Annex II – Table 1, Page 4).
An official with the GAO has priced the model that the Harper government has sought at somewhere between $100 and $115 million.
The Globe notes that the government has officially changed the status of the F-35 procurement.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 12:22 PM - 0 Comments
The Parliamentary Budget Officer suggests Old Age Security is sustainable in the long term (full report here). Meanwhile, the NDP busts the Conservatives for being against raising the retirement age before they were considering being for it.
In the thick of the 2004 election campaign, Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party sent out a “REALITY CHECK” titled: Paul Martin’s hidden seniors agenda. Conservatives claimed that Liberals were hiding a plan to raise the retirement age to 67 for Old Age Security (OAS). They ridiculed the idea of raising the eligibility age for OAS because “Canadians would have to work two years longer only to receive less from their public pension.” …
In 2004, Conservative were ready to stand up for seniors. On Friday, Stephen Harper was asked about the possibility of raising the eligibility age by two years and replied “Absolutely, it’s being considered.” This government was elected on the promise that they would change Ottawa. They’ve become everything they used to oppose.
By John Geddes - Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 4:24 PM - 17 Comments
Meet the PM’s nemesis
Hockey isn’t an obvious decorating theme for a unit of the federal bureaucracy devoted to the non-contact pursuits of economic forecasting and spending analysis. But propped on a windowsill in the office of Kevin Page—the parliamentary budget officer whose reports have repeatedly clashed with the Conservative government’s—is a photo from the movie Slapshot. It’s Paul Newman by a locker-room blackboard, on which the chalk scrawl promises, “We supply everything but guts.” In another photo, Page himself, not a Slapshot extra, displays an ugly blackened bulge where he took a puck beneath his right eye a couple of seasons ago.
He clearly sees himself captaining a scrappy, underdog team. There’s something to that: since Page was appointed the first federal PBO in 2008, his upstart shop of just 13 bureaucrats has taken on the role of an expansion franchise, up against established powerhouses like the Department of Finance and the Prime Minister’s Office, which traditionally dominate the flow of government economic numbers. Page has elbowed his way into their league by releasing contentious studies on, for instance, the cost of the Afghanistan war and, especially, the likely persistence of budget deficits.
By Paul Wells - Thursday, July 16, 2009 at 10:33 PM - 41 Comments
One hundred and thirty-four economists, including 15 past presidents of the Canadian Economics Association, sign a clear letter of support for proper budgetary support and institutional independence for the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
The contrast with Michael Ignatieff’s stumblebum Liberal opposition, and with a government that wants credit for creating the PBO as an institution but doesn’t want any actual sass from Kevin Page, is striking.
By kadyomalley - Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 9:51 AM - 12 Comments
From today’s Ottawa Citizen:
Canada’s new budget officer has been told he can’t release any report to MPs, senators and taxpayers without the approval of the parliamentary librarian.
William Young has reportedly laid down the law in a blunt letter to Kevin Page that severely restricts what the office staff can do and say. One official described the letter as “nasty,” falling short of requiring the office staff “to get the library’s permission to use the washrooms.”
The move comes as the budget office has finished its first assessment of Canada’s economy and fiscal situation. Mr. Page had intended to publicly release his report before Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s economic update at the end of the month.
But Mr. Page says he will not let the squabble between his office and the library get in the way of the office’s “mandate” to get that report to MPs. He wouldn’t say whether he planned to first clear the report with Mr. Young, but said he would use “appropriate channels” to ensure he briefed Parliament before Mr. Flaherty delivered his update. [...]
I believe this is what is known as an ‘impossible situation’. Honestly, though, as tempting as it is to make the William Young the villain of the piece — heck, he seems pretty determined to do that all by himself — this whole unseemly showdown in the stacks could have been neatly avoided had the legislation that created the Parliamentary Budget Office not been so badly botched by the very same parliamentarians that it was meant to serve. Now that it has blown up into a fullblown power struggle, however, the government is going to be left with no choice but to admit that maybe, just maybe, they made a critical error by failing to make the PBO a stand alone Officer of Parliament, and amend the much vaunted Federal Accountability Act to do so.