Posted on 21 June 2012
OTTAWA – Last Tuesday, Senator Pierrette Ringuette brought forth a motion in the Senate Standing Committee on National Finance to demand the committee call Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) Kevin Page to appear before the committee.
Senator Ringuette proposed this motion after the denial of three previous requests to have Mr. Page appear before the committee to discuss the changes to the Old Age Security Program (OAS) as part of the committee’s ongoing study of the budget, Bill C-38.
The motion, like the three requests before, was blocked by Conservative Senators on the committee, this time in a recorded vote.
The PBO is a position that was created in 2006, after a study and unanimous recommendation from the Senate National Finance Committee.
The Parliament of Canada Act describes the mandate of the PBO as the following; to “provide independent analysis to the Senate and to the House of Commons about the state of the nation’s finances, the estimates of the government and trends in the national economy” and it also mandates the PBO to assist the Senate Standing Committee on National Finance in undertaking research into the nation’s finances.
That mandate would appear to most rational people to be a clear mandate to assist the committee with its study of the budget, the primary fiscal legislation each year.
And in this particular case, the PBO had specifically studied the claims of the Conservative government regarding the fiscal need to change OAS. PBO found the claims to be unsubstantiated.
Senator Ringuette commented following the committee meeting; “The creation of the PBO was recommended by the Finance Committee to assist MPs and Senators in reviewing the nation’s finances and that is never more important than when we are dealing with the budget. The Conservatives went through with the creation of the PBO to appear transparent and accountable, but that doesn’t really work if they refuse to acknowledge him, especially when he contradicts the numbers that the government has been peddling to support a giant restructuring of our retirement system in Canada.”
For Additional Information:
Office of Senator Pierrette Ringuette