New PBO says two requests for budget info from federal government fell short

OTTAWA – Canada’s interim parliamentary budget officer is having the same problems as the old one: being snubbed by the government.

Sonia L’Heureux said Monday that some federal departments have failed to meet two deadlines for information so she could analyse the 2012 federal budget.

Some departments complied partially with her first request in April, she said, but a second deadline came and went last week with no luck.

“I informed the Speaker of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Commons. They asked me to write to the non-compliant departments and agencies again, requesting them to provide the information,” she said in a statement.

“That second deadline of July 19, 2013, came and went, and I have yet to be provided with all the information that I need to undertake the requested analysis.

“If and when I am provided with it, I look forward to performing the analysis and, thereby, discharging my legislative mandate.”

The previous PBO, Kevin Page who retired in March, clashed frequently with the Conservative government.

Page contradicted the government’s spending assumptions and cost estimates, prompting accusations that he had exceeded his mandate.

Last month, the Conservatives killed a private member’s bill introduced by NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, that would have given the watchdog more teeth, making it a full-fledged, independent officer of Parliament.

A spokesman for Treasury Board President Tony Clement denied Monday there was any problem.

“The government continues to provide the PBO with information that falls within its mandate,” said spokesman Matthew Conway in an email.

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