Budget Attracts Challengers

May 30, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Epoch Times Photo
Parliamentary and Senate committees are holding marathon meetings to scrutinize Budget bill C-38, but without all the information they need, says Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page. (Matthew Little/The Epoch Times)

PARLIAMENT HILL—As Senate and parliamentary committees hold marathon meetings about the Bill C-38, the Conservatives’ controversial omnibus budget bill, critics continue to call for the bill to be broken into its constituent parts.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May said Tuesday her party has received over 20,000 petition signatures calling for C-38 to be scrapped for legislation that deals with budget matters only.

As it is now, the bill includes changes to the regulations and legislation governing environmental protection, old-age security, employment insurance, immigration, and national security.

Opposition parties have rallied to obstruct the bill, but the government has committees working double time to study it. There are over 20 hours of meetings on Wednesday and Thursday alone, with Senate and House of Commons committees studying the bill and its parts concurrently to accelerate its passage.

But that scrutiny will happen without essential information, according to Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page.

In an email to The Epoch Times Wednesday, Page wrote that it is essential the government share further budgetary details of the bill with Parliament before its passage.

Page said his office is asking for details of changes to baseline spending and changes to the public service so that MPs could make effective decisions about the budget.

“Without this information they cannot hold the government to account on behalf of Canadians— our system of responsible parliamentary government breaks down,” he said.

The government has not released key numbers in its Main Estimates and Supplementary Estimates, said Page.

“Members of Parliament, government and opposition alike, are being asked to go home to their constituents this summer without knowledge of how Budget 2012 might affect their communities.”

Among the missing information is how many jobs in the public service will be affected.

In response to Page’s request for details, Wayne Wouters, Clerk to the Privy Council, wrote to the PBO that the government must first notify affected public servants before implementing reductions and sharing that information widely.

That process, wrote Wouters, was required by collective agreements in place with public sector unions, a position Page disagrees with.

The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.