Monday, March 8, 2010

Full allocation for PBO in federal budget

Here is the word from this week's Hill Times:
After a dramatic year of struggling with the House and Senate Speakers and the Parliamentary Librarian, Canada's Parliamentary budget officer will receive the full planned $2.8-million budget he was promised, according to the 2010-2011 main estimates.

"We are very pleased that our budget is back to the original planned level," budget officer Kevin Page told The Hill Times in an email. "This will allow us to do a better job at carrying out our legislative mandate."

It's not a complete victory, though:
Mr. Young's [the Parliamentary Librarian] office said the PBO's $2.8-million funding would be maintained throughout the 2010-2011 fiscal year. Mr. Page said that "given recent history ... there should be a separate line for the PBO" under the Library of Parliament's funding.
Moreover, if you look back to the original three demands of the 'open letter', you'll note that adequate funding only satisfies one of the three demands. The other two outstanding complaints--public reporting and independence--seem to have settled down for the moment, but are not completely resolved.

But, let's call this a victory. Thank you to all of the economists and other interested citizens who supported this initiative. Collectively, I think we helped to do some good here.

I'll keep this blog up, both as an archive of the initiative and also as insurance against any future political pressure on the PBO.

So, go now in peace. We may have dispersed, but we will be watching.