The Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) has yet to release any cost estimates associated with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s campaign promises.
That’s despite the fact that independent estimates from the PBO are the direct result of a Liberal campaign promise from 2015 — a promise meant to ensure Canadians have “a credible, non-partisan way to compare each party’s fiscal plans.”
“Instead of continuing to propose cuts and austerity, as the Conservatives had done for 10 years under Stephen Harper, we made a decision to invest … and that has worked,” Trudeau told reporters Wednesday in response to questions about debt spending and his party’s plans to release a costed platform.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer hit back, saying: “Obviously
Conservative party spokesperson Simon Jefferies said it’s looking increasingly like the Liberal Party has “something to hide” and is readying for a “document dump” in the leadup to the Oct. 21 vote.
While parties are not required to submit proposals to the PBO, the office is mandated to respond to any requests for cost estimates in the 120 days leading up to an election.
Once a party informs the office in writing of when it plans to announce a particular platform promise, the PBO must then publish the estimate. It cannot publish an estimate on the actual election day or after the election.
“Trudeau and the Liberals should be upfront and honest with Canadians and release their costing as they make their platform commitments,” Jefferies said via email.
WATCH: Scheer vows to eliminate $1.5B in ‘handouts to wealthy shareholders and foreign companies’
Every Conservative promise “that has dollars and cents attached to it” will go to the PBO, Jefferies said. As of mid-morning on Wednesday, Sept. 18, the PBO has posted estimates for seven Conservative promises, including the party’s pledge to introduce a public transit tax credit.
The only other party whose election promises it has posted estimates for is the NDP.
“We’re pleased to be working with the PBO on a number of our proposals,” said NDP campaign spokesperson Melanie Richer via email. She also noted the party was the first to release a PBO-costed proposal when it announced plans to eliminate interest on federal student loans.
Rosie Emery, a spokesperson for the Green Party, said its platform budget is “currently under review by the PBO… an important review mechanism that holds federal parties accountable for their promises.”
WATCH: Jagmeet Singh says NDP will lift interest on student loans if elected
If the Liberal Party isn’t planning to have the PBO cost out every single platform commitment, Jefferies said it “begs the question, why? Did they not get an answer they were looking for from the PBO?”
The Liberal Party is working with the PBO on “specific electoral proposals,” Liberal spokesperson Pierre-Olivier Herbert via said email.
Herbert said the estimates would be released “in the campaign” but would not clarify whether that meant near the end of the election campaign or throughout as the party continues to make platform announcements.
READ MORE: Catch up on all your 2019 election coverage