Parliamentary budget officer claims he was intimidated by senior government officials

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Parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page said some astonishing things earlier today on CTV’s Question Period program.

In an interview with host Kevin Newman, Page revealed that he came very close to quitting after the Harper government cut his budget by one-third and demanded that all of his office’s work be kept confidential.

“It definitely was intimidation,” Page claimed.

His five-year tenure, which is about to come to a close, was also marked by some highlights. He called out the government for drastically low-balling the cost of the F-35 fighter-jet program, only to have his estimates largely confirmed in a subsequent auditor general’s report.

Unlike the auditor general, Page has a mandate to analyze Parliament's spending decisions and make determinations before the money has gone out the door.

Question Period also aired a clip of him telling Ottawa public-administration students that parliamentary watchdogs are under attack. He mentioned that the situation is the worst that he’s seen in the past 30 years.

Page is one of several officials who've been vilified or fired by the Harper government for questioning its decisions.

Others include former RCMP complaint commissioner Paul Kennedy, former veterans' ombudsman Pat Stogran, former military police complaint commissioner Peter Tinsley, Statistics Canada's former boss Munir Sheikh, former nuclear-regulatory commission head Linda Keen, and whistle-blowing diplomat Richard Colvin.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his cabinet are not known to brook dissent of any kind. It's amazing that after this record of muzzling and firing watchdogs, a claim of government intimidation by the parliamentary budget officer is still greeted in most quarters with a simple shrug of the shoulders.

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23 Comments

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Snicker

Mar 17, 2013 at 7:44pm

Non-Harper approved information is not allowed in Harperland. Defeats the doctrine of dictators.

StatsCan information crippled.
Scientists muzzled.
Pre-vetted media questions.
MPs cannot speak without PMO approved responses.
Any critic of government actions demonized/harassed.
And PM's created budget watchdog is not allowed to do job.

Thank you Kevin Page for all you tried to do and especially for not brown nosing.

Penny

Mar 17, 2013 at 7:54pm

We who know how the Harper operates shrug because it's old news. We are no longer shocked by anything he & his gang do. Every day seems to bring a new low, however. Terrorizing migrant workers for a TV show, taking credit for all the work Parks Canada did regarding Sable Island. Holding back funding if First Nations don't sign away Rights. And those are just the recent things. Who knows what new lows tomorrow will bring.

I strenuously object to use of the sign "A Strong Canada" picture at the head of this piece. The rest of the world, the UN, the OECD know better, but some readers may not.

Jeff Beck

Mar 18, 2013 at 5:06am

Is there no one / way to stop this ass hole ???

Nadine Lumley

Mar 18, 2013 at 6:38am

Repost from Chris Hedges (Pulitzer Prize winner and former war correspondent for the New York Times) on Canada’s right-wing neocon Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

Harper is a poster child for corporate malfeasance and corporate power, just sort of dismantling everything that’s good about Canada. So he’s the kind of species that rises to political power and is utterly subservient to corporate interests at the expense of the citizenry.

Yeah, he’s a pretty venal figure.

http://www.straight.com/article-732826/vancouver/chris-hedges-harper-ven...

.

Gone with the Wind

Mar 18, 2013 at 7:11am

Wow, it seems as though Harper has forgotten who he works for...

Fred Harris

Mar 18, 2013 at 8:23am

Kevin Page for CEO of the Treasury Board and Pat Stogran for the DM of Veterans Affairs Canada... For a start.

Rick in Richmond

Mar 18, 2013 at 9:31am

Would a more accurate headline be "Harper Tried to Intimidate Parliamentary Budget Officer"?

The story makes it clear that Mr Page was not actually intimidated at all. And good for him.

Argulion

Mar 18, 2013 at 9:33am

I'm, disturbingly, not surprised by this. Kevin Page was providing information that was not approved/supported by the Prime Minister's Office. You just can't have fully informed people in government anymore (sarcasm intended).

PJ

Mar 18, 2013 at 10:31am

re Penny What is this WE KNOW?
Harper is not terrorising immigrants ,its a BC company and okyd by the city of Vancouver to do their filming So blame the mayor for terrorising ILLIGAL people.
First nations arnt getting anything held back,they just want more,30mil for an 80 people band per year is enough would you think?
Should we not be a strong CANADA I think so.
Now lets talk BC gov.Where do we start?.Then the LIBs. for 40 years .
And Jeff.Rather have Chretzian back or trudo .Learn politics not swearing.
Nadine Stop smoking whaky tobac before writing.

Canuckistan

Mar 18, 2013 at 11:51am

Another term in office for Harper?, only if Canada wants it.

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