Parliamentary watchdog moves closer to holding Harper to account

Photo by Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

By the Toronto Star, 14 October 2012

Just as Dr. Frankenstein invented his own worst enemy, so too did Stephen Harper. In 2006, the prime minister established the parliamentary budget office, promising a new era of accountability in Ottawa. If you asked him today, he might say he created a monster.

Last week, the head of the office, Kevin Page, made significant headway in a months-long battle with the government over its refusal to cough up financial details related to the last federal budget. A threat, issued earlier this month, to take departments withholding information to court if they didn’t change tack by last Wednesday appears to have changed a few minds.

The details Page is after relate to how departments plan to implement the cuts contained in the budget. When he first made the request last spring, 64 of 84 departments and agencies refused to comply. But last week, faced with the prospect of legal action, 19 more departments asked Page to extend the deadline so they could prepare the requested reports. And it appears that many more, if not all, will follow. (...)

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Photo by Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press.