Conservatives kill NDP transparency bill

OTTAWA – While the Conservatives promised Canadians greater transparency, their vote to kill an NDP bill designed to strengthen the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) shows they have no interest in being truly accountable to taxpayers.

“The Conservatives rode into Ottawa in 2006 on a pledge of openness and responsibility but everything they have done since gaining power has been the exact opposite,” said NDP Leader Tom Mulcair. “This bill would have allowed for a non-partisan, independent PBO, truly accountable to Canadian taxpayers.”

Mulcair’s Bill C-476, the Parliamentary Budget Officer Act, would have made the PBO an independent officer of parliament with access to any information necessary for a complete analysis of government spending. The Conservatives who recently lost track of $3.1 billion, have repeatedly refused to provide the PBO with financial data. MP Brent Rathgeber, who left the Conservative caucus due to frustrations about their lack of commitment to transparency, supported this bill. Mulcair’s Bill also enjoyed support from wide range of organizations from civil society.

“Instead of taking steps to help the PBO do his job, the Conservatives tried to obstruct him at every turn,” said Mulcair. “This vote that essentially weakens parliamentarians’ ability to serve Canadians is especially galling considering that every month there is a new Conservative scandal. Canadians deserve better.”