Who is helping to select the next PBO? And how did we get an interim PBO?

More questions about the parliamentary budget officer
Kevin Page, Parliamentary budget officer, appears at Commons finance committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, April 26, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Kevin Page is concerned that, as noted here earlier, the membership of the committee that will help select the next parliamentary budget officer is being kept secret.

When I asked the Library of Parliament about this issue earlier this week, the response from a spokeswoman was as follows.

As is the case with any Governor-In-Council appointment process, and for that matter most personnel competitions, the work and deliberations of the selection committee are confidential until the process has been completed.

The New Democrats are pointing, by comparison, to the selection of the next governor of the Bank of Canada. Here were Thomas Mulcair’s comments to reporters after QP this afternoon.

We know who’s on the selection committee to replace the Governor of the Bank of Canada. It is a bit surprising that the Library of Parliament finds that its appointments process is a notch higher and the public isn’t allowed to know. It’s quite a big concern for us because the Parliamentary Budget Officer of course came in as part of the much ballyhooed Accountability Act. They’ve gutted every other part of the Accountability Act since they actually formed government so we’re quite concerned about the PBO.

I was consulted on the PBO. I was the NDP’s Finance Critic when Kevin Page came in. Not only was I consulted, I got to interview Kevin Page. He insisted on it. The government wanted to make sure that everybody was onside and our party got to interview him and I thought that he was a sterling choice. It turned out that that was a good evaluation. 

So it’s quite clear to us that they’re not taking it very seriously. The date for the announced holding of the competition is actually after the end of Kevin Page’s mandate. We’re really concerned. We’re really concerned. 

Meanwhile, Government House leader Peter Van Loan has just announced—via a news release that arrived at 6:02pm—that the Parliamentary Librarian, Sonia L’Heureux, will take over as the interim parliamentary budget officer when Kevin Page’s term expires on March 25.

A month ago, the government was reported to have claimed that appointing an interim PBO was not an option.