The Liberal Senate Forum

Connect

facebook Ideas Forum youtube flickr

Meet Senator

Larry Campbell

The Hon. Larry W. Campbell, M.B.A. One of Vancouver’s best-known and most admired citizens, Senator Larry W. Campbell served as mayor from 2002-2005 after a distinguished and high profile career primarily in law enforcement and death investigation. Since August 2, 2005, he has represented the province of British Columbia for the Senate.

Statements & Hansard

Parliamentary Budget Officer—Accountability

More on...

Share

Feedback

Read the comments left on this page or add yours.
Statement made on 20 November 2008 by Senator Joan Fraser

Hon. Joan Fraser:

Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate from, as she often reminds me, an even older media hand.

In its 2006 election platform, the Conservative Party promised that a Conservative government would "create an independent Parliamentary Budget Authority to provide objective analysis directly to Parliament."

That promise was more or less kept with the arrival of the Federal Accountability Bill. We all remember that extraordinary bill, in which there were more elements than one could count in a month of Sundays, but the position of Parliamentary Budget Officer was included in it. Although he was made an officer of the Library of Parliament rather than of Parliament, that was presented largely as an administrative matter without any suggestion that his independence or freedom would be circumscribed in any way. The independence of the office appeared to be confirmed when the first Parliamentary Budget Officer was appointed, and the Honourable Peter Van Loan, the then Minister of Democratic Reform, said that the Parliamentary Budget Officer is an independent officer of the Library of Parliament, who reports to the Speakers of both chambers.

Since then, however, we have learned that the Speakers of both chambers have written in a formal letter, that, in their view, it is the will of Parliament that the officer shall not report directly to the Speakers but rather shall report directly to the Parliamentary Librarian. I can see, upon rereading the legislation, why the Speakers said that — because there it is in the law. However, many parliamentarians would be a little more surprised by the Speakers' conclusion that this means that the budget officer should work in a manner consistent with the practices and service standards that have been developed by the Library of Parliament. As we know, there has been some recent indication of conflict. The library's normal practices and standards do not involve the automatic publication of all work done by the library's estimable research service.

Even though the Parliamentary Budget Officer is sticking to his guns, as we saw this morning, is the government prepared to finally fulfill its 2006 promise by making clear either administratively or, if necessary, with a legislative amendment, that the Parliamentary Budget Officer is truly an independent officer and that his work does not have to be vetted by anybody — certainly, not the Parliamentary Librarian — before it is made public?

Please click here to read the full text of the Senator's question

Recent Statements from Liberal Senators

First Nations Control of First Nations Education Bill

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Lillian Eva Dyck | Honourable senators, I would like to say a few words about this motion. I am definitely in support of it. The idea of a First Nations education act is critically important to the welfare of First Nations across Canada, and especially to our young people.

Income Inequality

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette | What does the government intend to do to learn from the financial crisis, reduce wealth inequality, and follow the lead of other jurisdictions that have started to rein in compensation that has nothing to do with the productivity of the people who earn the average salary of a Canadian in half a day?

Broadcast of Senate Proceedings

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Grant Mitchelll | What is the leader's personal opinion about televising the Senate?

National Pharmacare

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Art Eggleton | That was supported unanimously in the Senate, so I take it, senator, that you would be willing to now advance this idea to the government.

National Pharmacare

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator James Cowan | My question is: Will this government put National Pharmacare on the agenda?
« 1 2 3 4 5  ... » 
Recycle

You can retrieve this page at:
http://www.liberalsenate.ca/In-The-Senate/Statement/2207_Parliamentary-Budget-OfficerAccountability.
Please recycle this document.