Green Party calls for independent budget officer
Victoria, BC – Jane Sterk, leader, and Andrew Weaver, deputy leader of the Green Party of BC, are calling for the creation of an independent legislative budget officer (LBO) for British Columbia. Weaver announced the call after attending an event featuring Kevin Page, Canada’s first parliamentary budget officer.
“The work of Kevin Page and his fellow civil servants in providing Members of Parliament with the information they needed to hold the Prime Minister to account was nothing short of courageous. MLAs and British Columbians deserve the same when it comes to making decisions in our province,” said Weaver. “That’s why I’m calling for the creation of an independent budgetary office that will be accountable to the legislature, not the Premier.”
Weaver proposes that the mandate of the LBO should be similar to that of the recently created federal Parliamentary Budget Office in Ottawa, where Page served from 2008-2013.
According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer website, “The mandate of the Parliamentary Budget Officer is to provide independent analysis to Parliament on the state of the nation's finances, the government's estimates and trends in the Canadian economy; and upon request from a committee or parliamentarian, to estimate the financial cost of any proposal for matters over which Parliament has jurisdiction.”
“The Green Party is committed to re-democratizing governance in BC and that begins with accountability and transparency in decision-making,” said leader Jane Sterk. “We note that the BC NDP introduced a private member's bill to establish a Parliamentary Budget Officer for BC modeled on the federal position in 2009 but did not reintroduce the bill since then. Should they form government, we hope to work with them in making this function a reality.”
The Green Party of BC has called for democratic reforms in recent months as a major component of its 2013 election campaign. Among the proposals are electoral finance reforms, mandating Elections BC to oversee leadership contests of political parties, free votes in the legislature, and election of the Speaker by secret ballot. BC’s three independent MLAs have recommended similar reforms.
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