Federal budget | Ottawa fails transparency test, says PBO

(Ottawa) The Trudeau government fails the test of transparency when it announces new spending in its latest budget without providing parliamentarians with all the information necessary to assess its relevance, estimates the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO), Yves Giroux, in an analysis released Thursday.


To correct this deficiency, the Ministry of Finance should be forced to table the budget on a fixed date earlier in the year, according to Mr. Giroux.

In Budget 2023, the PBO estimates that the Minister of Finance announced revenue and spending decisions of more than $12 billion over the next five years on which specific details are not given.

“This lack of transparency makes it difficult for parliamentarians and the public to scrupulously scrutinize the government’s spending plans and reconcile the amounts previously provisioned with their announcement,” the DPD noted in its analysis of the latest budget. federal

Furthermore, the last budget was tabled one month after the government’s expenditure plan and the main estimates for 2023-24, which means that the additional expenditures of 9 .8 billion contained in the last federal budget.

The PBO therefore recommends that Parliament adopt a new legislative or administrative framework to increase budget transparency and thus allow elected officials to do their analysis work properly. A budget submitted on a fixed date at the beginning of the year would, in his opinion, make it possible to achieve this objective.

In its analysis, the PBO also criticizes Minister Freeland for not having presented any evaluation of the effectiveness of the programs that the Trudeau government had launched in the 2022 budget. Last year, the Minister of Finance announced her intention save at least $3 billion over three years. At the end of the day, $3.8 billion in savings was achieved not by looking at spending, but by lower-than-expected spending on some COVID-19 support measures in 2021-22.

The PBO also noted that the Trudeau government simply canceled the strategic policy review it also promised to do in its 2022 budget for three fiscal years. This review was expected to result in savings of $9 billion.

In the latest budget tabled on March 28, Minister Freeland promised to “refocus government spending” to cut spending by about $15 billion by 2027-28.

Since coming to power, the Trudeau government has never presented a balanced budget. The third budget tabled by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland last month is still written in red ink – a $40 billion deficit is projected in fiscal year 2023-24. The deficit is expected to reach $14 billion in 2027-2028, according to projections by the Department of Finance. Thus, the return to a balanced budget remains a distant and uncertain project in Ottawa.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.