Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Harper must be wondering why he instituted the parliamentary budget office

One of the measures that Stephen Harper has taken in his time in power is the formation of the parliamentary budget office. The goal was to create an office to ensure government was accountable. Those were the heady days when anything the Harperites did was in service to accountability.

I am sure that Stephen Harper never intended it to make him accountable. He most certainly conceived of it as check on Liberals, once they eventually got back into power.

However, it seems that the Conservatives, by Harper's own standards, are getting to be unreliable, and thus to a degree unaccountable. All this has been revealed by contradicting reports and statements issued by the government and by the parliamentary budget office.

For instance, the Conservatives are maintaining that the deficit we are seeing is in no danger of being structural. This flies in the face of a pending report from the parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page, predicting deficits seen through 2014, well after the economy, as predicted by this report, recovers.

Meanwhile, Flaherty and Harper cheerfully assert that these deficits are necessary, but once the economy recovers, so will the budgets.

Inconveniently, the parliamentary budget officer is getting it right more than Harper's government. He predicted larger deficits than the government originally did, and he was right.

Looks like he'll be right again, keeping Harper accountable. A nice twist of fate.
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