Government appointed Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page published a legal opinion stating that federal departments and agencies are breaking the law by withholding basic fiscal information from him.
64 out of 84 departments refuse to release the data Page says he needs to do his job, and which opposition MPs asked for before voting on the federal budget.
But Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird thinks the budgetary watchdog “has overstepped his mandate”.
The PBO was created under the Conservatives' Federal Accountability Act in 2006. MP Baird, the lead minister on the act, told a committee, “The legislation would ensure parliamentary committees have access to independent and objective analysis on economic and fiscal issues."
Since then the Conservatives have frequently criticized Page, going so far as to call him "unbelievable and unreliable” when his estimates disputed theirs.
Why would the government attack the authority and integrity of an independent parliamentary budget office that they themselves conceived, created and staffed unless they had something to hide?
Make it known that you will not tolerate having the true state of Canada’s finances suppressed. Hold PM Harper to his promise of “accountability and transparency” and demand that withheld fiscal information be released immediately.
TO: Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
We, the undersigned demand that you release all fiscal data the Parliamentary Budget Office needs to do its job.
Breaking a law that you conceived and created in order to thwart the PBO’s mandate of government “accountability and transparency” is not only highly hypocritical but criminal.
As taxpayers, we claim the right to know the true state of Canada’s finances and strongly urge you to comply with the PBO’s requests immediately.