NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has welcomed the new Parliamentary Budget Officer with a friendly reminder that government departments haven’t been complying with his request for information on the impact of budget 2012 cuts.
In a letter to newly-appointed Jean-Denis Fréchette, Mulcair asked for an update on Fréchette’s plan to obtain information.
As you’ll recall, interim PBO Sonia L’Heureux released a statement in July that basically reiterated former PBO Kevin Page’s concern that most departments weren’t cooperating – although she never gave interviews about it.
We’re not sure if Mulcair’s letter was received. L’Heureux is still listed as interim PBO on the website, and the office receptionist said Fréchette – who was appointed by the Conservatives last Friday – was not available for an interview.
She could not say whether he would ever be available.
Below is the letter.
September 3, 2013
Re: PBO Information Request IR0113
Dear Mr. Fréchette,
Congratulations on your appointment as Canada’s new Parliamentary Budget Officer. I hope our relationship is as productive as it was with your predecessor, Kevin Page.
As you are aware, information request IR0113 is my request for an analysis of the impact on Canadians of the government’s planned savings measures outlined in Budget 2012. While the budget was presented 17 months ago, this request has still not been fulfilled due to some government departments withholding information from your office.
The Federal Court of Canada’s reference decision in Page v Mulcair 2013 FC 402 made it explicitly clear that parliamentarians are legally entitled to the PBO’s analysis, which must be timely if it is to be effective.
I note that the last compliance chart released by the PBO was on July 29th. I would appreciate an update from you as soon as possible on the status of this information request along with your plans to obtain this information from the relevant government departments.
Thomas Mulcair, MP
Leader of the Official Opposition
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