Ottawa

Making it punishable to obstruct the parliamentary budget officer

Bruce Hyer tables a proposal in the House
NDP MP Bruce Hyer votes on Bill C-19, a bill to scrap the long-gun registry, in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, February 15, 2012. Hyer has quit the NDP caucus to sit as an independent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Independent MP Bruce Hyer has tabled two bills that would make it a crime to refuse impose a regulatory penalty on those who refuse to provide information requested by the parliamentary budget officer and auditor general respectively.

Hyer argues that there should be penalties for lack of compliance. “The jobs of the PBO and AG are extremely important for Canada. The PBO provides independent analysis of the government’s spending estimates and trends in the Canadian economy. The job of the AG is to hold the federal government accountable for its stewardship of public funds. Obviously, both need full access to the information in order to carry out their duties. Today’s complete lack of consequences puts limits on these Officers’ ability to scrutinize the expenditures of the government… and thus limits how Parliament can hold the government to account.”

C-507 covers the parliamentary budget officer, while C-508 covers the auditor general.

Update Friday, 3:36pm. Via Twitter, Mr. Hyer notes that his bills wouldn’t make it a crime to obstruct the PBO and auditor general. Corrections above and in the headline.