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NDP presses for extension of Page’s term as federal budget watchdog

Canada's Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page waits to testify before the Commons finance committee on Parliament Hill, April 26, 2012.

CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS

NDP finance critic Peggy Nash is planning to move a motion at the House of Commons finance committee that would call for the extension of Kevin Page's term as Parliamentary Budget Officer.

Mr. Page's term is scheduled to expire March 25 and it appears unlikely that the process for finding his replacement will be complete by then.

The Conservative government, which created the PBO, has often stated that it believes Mr. Page has gone beyond the original mandate of the office.

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Ms. Nash has already served notice of the motion to the committee and it is expected to come up for debate on Tuesday.

The search for a new PBO will be led by the Library of Parliament. A spokesperson for the library, Cynthia Cusinato, told the Globe that a contract has been issued to Renaud Foster for executive search services.

"The Library will meet with the firm this week (Friday) to discuss the recruitment strategy and develop a detailed work plan and timeline," she said in an email. "Once the recruitment strategy is in place, the Parliamentary Librarian will begin work to form a Selection Committee in alignment with the search firm's work plan and timeline.  It is important that members of the Selection Committee understand the time commitment and scope of the work they will be required to do."

The motion calls on the finance committee to recommend that Mr. Page's term be extended "until a thorough, transparent and competitive search for his replacement can be completed and his successor is appointed."

Earlier this week the Prime Minister said the government created the PBO in order to ensure Parliament has independent and non-partisan information on the financial position of the government.

"We are committed to that and want to make sure in the future that the office does credible and non-partisan work," he said.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

A member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery since 1999, Bill Curry worked for The Hill Times and the National Post prior to joining The Globe in Feb. 2005. Originally from North Bay, Ont., Bill reports on a wide range of topics on Parliament Hill, with a focus on finance. More

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