Created in 2006, the position of Parliamentary Budget Officer is housed within the Library of Parliament. The purpose of the Parliamentary Budget Office is to provide independent analysis to parliamentarians of the state of Canada’s finances and the validity of the Canadian government’s financial estimates.
Prime Minister Harper clearly got more than he bargained for when he appointed Kevin Page as the first Parliamentary Budget Officer in 2008. Consistently outspoken, Mr. Page made a significant mark in Ottawa by pushing back on some of the government’s most imaginative financial estimates, most notably with regard to the F-35.
The Harper government was not amused. Throughout most of his term as Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page was routinely denounced by Conservative MPs and Ministers (Don Young & Patti-Ann Finlay, “What makes this whistle-blower tick?” CTV News, 16 March 2013):
John Baird said that he had “overstepped”;
Tony Clement charged him with being “fixated”;
Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty, went on national television to chastise Page and accuse him of reaching beyond the terms of his job description.
But Page stuck by his estimates and his analyses of government spending, arguing that “criticism comes with the job” and that “he is proud of the agency he’s built and believes an aggressive and transparent PBO is an essential part of the democratic process.”
March 22nd was Kevin Page’s last day as Parliamentary Budget Officer, and Ceasefire.ca would like to thank him for his consistent efforts to ensure that parliamentarians, and Canadians in general, got at least some of the information they needed to hold the Harper government to account.
As CTV put it,
For five tumultuous years, Kevin Page has run the PBO with a “take-no-prisoners” style. He promised financial accountability – and delivered. He also refused to back down from the many attempts to muzzle him. His mandate however, is now over and the government has chosen not to renew it.
Admired by taxpayers, feared by bureaucrats, criticised by politicians — love him or hate him — Kevin Page has brought unprecedented scrutiny to how Ottawa spends Canadians’ tax dollars.
Photo credit: Canada 2020