Out like a lion: 5 exit interviews with Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page

PBO Kevin Page is not going out quietly

(Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Outgoing Parliamentary Budget Office Kevin Page has been making the rounds during his final weeks in the post and one thing is for certain: he’s not going out quietly.

Here are some selected quotes from his recent interviews to prove it:

1. To The Hill Times:

“It was an accident that the current PBO became a true legislative budget office. If Parliament, the media and Canadians want a true legislative budget office they will have to stand up. The current PBO is about to go down… The timing of the selection process and the interim appointment of the librarian do not support the interests of Parliament.”

2. To the Chronicle Herald on parliamentary librarian Sonia L’Heureux being appointed as interim parliamentary budget officer:

“I think it was a mistake on behalf of the government in council to make this appointment. I don’t think it was a good decision, and I think it was a mistake for Sonia to take the job…Sonia is a very nice person. I like her a lot, but she has no experience, zero experience, in the budget world and public finance world. And this idea that ‘I’m just going to be the steward of the office,’ to me that’s saying I want responsibility but don’t hold me accountable.”

3. On CTV’s Power Play:

“We have people qualified in the office that have experience in budgeting and, in fact, the chief librarian does not have experience. And we need experience now. We’re weeks away from a budget and we’re two weeks away from going to the federal court to talk about our reference opinion on spending issues, involving the federal government…It’s a sign we are being marginalized and it’s a plan to drift the office back into the library, which is a very different type of research-related work.”

4. To the Toronto Star:

“I’ll be out of here soon and two weeks later no one will remember my name. That kind of stuff isn’t important to me. The question is: do institutions matter?”

5. To The Globe and Mail, on the Privy Council Office adding a representative to the parliamentary budget officer selection committee:

“There is no logic to have a PCO person as part of the selection committee. There should be no interference from [the PCO] until names are advanced to senior personnel for Governor-in-Council consideration.”

Page’s final day is March 25.

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