A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, March 10, 2013

PBO Position Finally Advertised

Just a few days before Kevin Page's contract expires the Conservative government is advertising for a mid-level executive to fill the spot meanwhile the Parliamentary Librarian will take over as interim budget officer.

The lengthy job description suggests the government is clearly looking for a more compliant budget watchdog than Page, who has been a thorn in the government’s side with his financial analysis and reports since the day he was hired to set up the country’s first parliamentary budget office.....the posting clearly wants a negotiator and a consensus builder who can bridge differences in a partisan arena.
“The suitable candidate should possess experience in negotiating and achieving consensus on complex issues among a variety of stakeholders with competing objectives.”
Treasury Board President Tony Clement is quoted as saying “The budget officer of course is hired by the chief librarian, She (L’Heureux) has, I believe, a responsibility to set out the terms and conditions. I see nothing in there that offends the will of Parliament, so as far as I’m concerned it’s a matter that she has the responsibility for.”
Does anyone who knows the Harper Regime really believe that, particularly in that the search committee, who's members we are not permitted to know, are charged with identifying “three candidates to recommend to the prime minister.” That does not sound like a method of seeking an independent and effective parliamentary budget watchdog to me!
It is further reported that the new officer if and when hired will actually have a lower wage scale than Mr Page receives in that he retained his assistant deputy minister salary when hired. “Aside from the pay and level, no ambitious public servants “in their right mind who want to finish their careers in the public service would apply. They would run afoul of the government and end their bureaucratic careers, and if they didn’t “would be vilified by the media,” said one bureaucrat.
Ian Lee, a professor at Carleton’s Sprott School of Business is quoted as saying “The language of job description suggests they’re looking for a labour negotiator or someone to negotiate a peace treaty between warring parties … You don’t negotiate numbers and reach consensus on generally accepted accounting principles”

So to sum it up the Harper regimen is looking for a mid level bureaucrat selected by Harper from a short list provided by a secret committee and she or he will receive less compensation that the current PBO and will require 'negotiating' skills. Negotiating what we wonder, the amount of information to release and keep your job or what departments will not be subject to scrutiny.....like the PMO for instance? They also need an “Understanding of the Parliament of Canada and Canada’s parliamentary system of governance.” It does not say if that means before or after Harper totally destroys it!

And to top it all off we have the Parliamentary Librarian, who presumably is NOT a financial expert in charge of this under budgeted department for however long it takes the private headhunter and the unnamed committee to find someone even willing to take on this job who is 'acceptable' to Harper.

I think we can all see where this one is going!

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