Parliamentary budget officer claims he was intimidated by senior government officials

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.

Comments (23) Add New Comment
Snicker
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.
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Penny
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.
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Jeff Beck
Is there no one / way to stop this ass hole ???
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Nadine Lumley
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...

.
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Gone with the Wind
Wow, it seems as though Harper has forgotten who he works for...
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Fred Harris
Kevin Page for CEO of the Treasury Board and Pat Stogran for the DM of Veterans Affairs Canada... For a start.
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Rick in Richmond
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.
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Argulion
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).
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PJ
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.
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Canuckistan
Another term in office for Harper?, only if Canada wants it.
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Shirley
I don't think Harper's forgotten who he works for, I think we've forgotten who he works for. We as Canadians just seem to keep voting him back into parliament and then act surprised to see that nothing has changed, I think it's time to get the spoiled brat out of there. The power seems to have gone to his head. I think he should be afraid of the next election, how many more rights are we going to let him take away before we take a stand and say enough is enough
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Donna Kriekle
Very very disturbing!
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Evaluuna
@PJ

You are SO wrong! Vic Tuews signed off on filming the 'raid'. Goes all the way to the PMO, dude. Another propangandistic 'photo op'. Aren't we tough guys.
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bernard murphy
mr harper may just empower himself to be our King or Emperor if we don't keep an eye on him. he is presently acting as tho he were King of Canada. i am happy to see so many comments showing distain for mr harper and only one in favor. lets hope the next election mirrors this. maybe we'll get lucky and vote in Ms. Elizabeth May, our first female leader and such a bright, honest, and caring person....God Bless Canada...a possible future star country in the world politic.
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Peter
Bernard are you her son?
May as leader do you know what she stands for? Close the oil sands,shut down all polluting industries,go live on a farm or in a cave.
I see the so called bright poss. voters not knowing what is going on,you read a headline and right away its all Harpers foult
Read Evaluuna as to who is to blame for the filming,and you all were going to blame someone else,get your facts streight before you throw stones.
Tell me wether the LIBs or The NDPs have done any better for OUR CANADA ,Think about that a wile.
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Argulion
@Shirley, Harper was elected by slightly over 26% of the electorate. Almost 40% of the electorate did not vote due to apathy, disenchantment, cynicism and potential issues related to the robocall scandal. We actually have a majority government elected by a minority of citizens. And Harper does know who he works for, the party's donors.
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JHO
Re: PJ. PJ, you seem to be the perfect Harperite: Illiterate, ill-informed, red-necked, prejudiced, and reactive. Just what the Con-servile-tives love.
Who on earth is voting down the intelligent, concerned responses to this excellent article? -5 on the Hedges (brilliant!) quote? Nasty Konzervativ party trolls prowling the site for some democratic debate to attempt to squelch? Scary.

Thank you, Straight. Thank you, Charlie Smith. Godspeed, Chris Hedges. As for SH and his sphincter-lingual robofascist enthusiasts, may your karma ripen quickly and decisively.
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Allan
October 19, 2015 can't come fast enough from a political standpoint.
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bowser
So, JHO, this is what has come to. If you don't have an intelligent argument, then just call people names. Sad, sad, sad!!! If Harper is in power because people don't vote due to ap.., well, whatever lame reason they have, then guess what, HE IS STILL IN POWER. Quit your lame bitching and actually do something.
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Xtina
In the 2006 federal election the Harper Conservatives overspent and plead guilty and were fined 52,000. This is the vote that brought Steve to power.

Since then it's been win at any cost for Harper Cons. Prorouge parliament--twice, robo calls to 31,000 voters on the eve of the last election, intimidate scientists and academics.
Let's never forget who we are dealing with people!
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