Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Somebody's not prorogued


Kevin Page. Aka Batman:
Canada's parliamentary budget officer is publicly questioning the projected budget surpluses of the Conservative government's recent economic statement and is asking for evidence to back up the predictions.

Kevin Page asked Finance Deputy Minister Rob Wright to turn over details on the projected spending reductions in departments and asset sales that the government has said will generate $10 billion in savings over five years. These are seen as key to the maintenance of a federal surplus.

Page's letter, sent on Dec. 3, has now been posted on the budget office's website. It asks for a reply this week.

He also asked for economic data and assumptions used for the 2008 budget and recent economic statement. Finance refused to give the data for the 2008 budget even though the numbers are routinely turned over to Bay Street forecasters. The assumptions, key to estimating the impact of economic volatility, used to be published by previous governments.

In his economic statement, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty projected a budget surplus of $100 million for 2009-10 based on the sale of about $2 billion in assets that he didn't identify. (emphasis added)
Oh yes, the hogwash surplus in the economic update. That really takes one back two weeks or so. A lot can happen in the interim, don't ya know. Lies, national unity being inflamed, prorogation, new Liberal leader. Yet such faithful public servants doggedly insist on doing their jobs. Asking questions, calling for evidence...how absolutely pesky. Especially when the Harper/Flaherty house of cards has been so precariously built. And doesn't this guy know Harpie's shut everything down?

Harper wants input from the opposition on budgetary matters? Perhaps he should start by providing the routine information that is typically produced by normal, accountable governments. Otherwise, what's an opposition to do when confronted by a sham of a process?