Saturday, January 9, 2010

An upside to not being independent?

This week, we learned that the Parliamentary Budget Officer will continue to report even though Parliament has been prorogued. In the Globe, it was reported that this is possible for the PBO because it lacks independence.
The fact that Mr. Page is able to release such reports is due to the unique structure of his office. The Parliamentary Budget Office operates as a division of the Library of Parliament. Mr. Page has expressed concern about this arrangement, arguing that he should be an independent Officer of Parliament. There are currently eight such officers – including the Auditor-General, the Privacy Commissioner and the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.
This is a cute quirk, but it doesn't change my mind that on balance there is more to be gained from independence than being a vassal of the Library of Parliament.