In 2006, the Harper government created the Parliamentary Budget Office. It was necessary, the Conservatives said, to ensure government accountability. Yesterday, the man who runs that office, Kevin Page, threatened to sue the government because it was purposely withholding information:
Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page is warning the federal government that 64 departments and agencies have broken the law by refusing to hand over information about upcoming budget cuts.
In a June 18 letter to the Clerk of the Privy Council Wayne Wouters, Page says he has obtained a legal opinion that confirms his right to request and receive information about the effects of $5.2 billion in cuts.
"Whether legal action will be taken going forward will depend on a myriad of factors, not the least of which is whether the information is provided or valid legal grounds are advanced by the Clerk or deputy heads for failing to provide the information," Page told The Huffington Post Canada in an email.
When asked yesterday about its battle with the PBO, John Baird -- the clown Prince of the Harper regime -- acted as the government's spokesman:
Baird replied that during the last election, the Conservatives ran on a plan for growth and job creation and, quoting that magical 750,000 net new jobs number, it seems to be working. And though he didn’t name-check the PBO at all, Baird did note the creation of its Federal Accountability Act — the one that gives the PBO its power.
It was invented to clean up the mess left by the Liberals, Baird said. “Thank goodness”, he told the House, that we’ve come a long way since the very dark days under the Liberal government.
Really? While Baird responded with a non answer, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso responded to Stephen Harper's latest lecture to the Europeans:
"We are not complacent about the difficulties. We are extremely open. I wish that all our partners were so open about their own difficulties. We are extremely open and we are engaging our partners but we are certainly not coming here to receive lessons from nobody," he said.
One wonders when Canadians will rise, en masse, and deliver the same message to the Prime Minister.