Canada’s Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO), otherwise known as Canada’s budget watchdog, may be disappearing after only 5 years of existence says Kevin Page, the departing civil servant in charge of the office. Page says the federal government is sending strong signals to unwind the office. According to Page, the federal government will either build ‘a true legislative budget office even with weak legislation’ or create a weaker successor to the office ‘so it becomes part of the library business model which is confidential work’.
The federal government has already appointed Sonia L’Heureux, the Parliamentary Librarian, as the interim budget watchdog—evidence that the federal government is undoing the Office. The problems with this appointment are that L’Heureux reports directly to the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons, thus lacking independence. Another problem is that the chief librarian does not have any experience working on budgets. These problems are signs that the federal government does not want someone with experience and knowledge in the office, says Page.