Legal opinion: Budget-cut secrecy is breaking law


mentalfloss
#1
Legal opinion: Budget-cut secrecy breaking law

OTTAWA — The federal government is breaking the law by keeping details of budget cuts secret from Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page, a legal expert says.

Page has been fighting with the government over details of what $5.2 billion in budget cuts will mean to Canadians. The government does not deny it knows the impact of the cuts, but it has refused to release any details.

Page believes he has a legal right to the information, and sought an outside opinion from University of Ottawa law professor Joseph Magnet.

Magnet sided with Page, saying the government has offered no legal argument for why it should be exempted from the Parliament of Canada Act, which guarantees the parliamentary budget officer free and timely access to data.

Opposition parties are rallying behind Page. Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae today said the legal opinion clearly shows “the government of Canada under Stephen Harper is quite simply breaking the law.”

Kings-Hants Liberal MP Scott Brison said the secrecy means MPs must vote on a budget without knowing the details of what they are voting for or against.

“The Parliamentary budget officer doesn't operate in a bubble. His office is there to serve Parliament, to enable us to do our jobs,” said Brison.

“We cannot do our jobs if we're voting blindly on legislation.”

NDP House Leader Nathan Cullen recently tried to start a contempt motion against the Conservative government for not providing information to Parliamentarians.

House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer threw out the motion. The Speaker is the referee of the House, but Scheer took a minimalist view of his role. He told MPs they will have to go to the courts to compel the government to hand over information.

Page has been mulling that option in recent weeks, though he says it is a last-case scenario.

Page asked about the implication of cuts from every department and agency. So far 64 organizations have ignored the request.

Speaking on behalf of them, Canada's top bureaucrat, Clerk of the Privy Council Wayne Wouters, told Page that government would not provide cut details until employees are notified first due to contractual obligations.

Unions then publicly endorsed Page's call for openness. They said they had no objection to cut details being released as long as the names of affected employees were not released.

Confronted with this in House of Commons Question Period, treasury board president Tony Clement said the government would still not release early details of cuts out of kindness to employees who could be impacted.

Legal opinion: Budget-cut secrecy breaking law | The Chronicle Herald
 
lone wolf
Free Thinker
#2
Maybe the Amendment's buried in the Bill....
 
Machjo
+2
#3  Top Rated Post
So much for the party of law and order. So if I just decide I don't agree with the law, I can just ignore it?

It would seem Chief Harper thinks himself above the law.
 
captain morgan
Bloc Québécois
+1
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

So much for the party of law and order. So if I just decide I don't agree with the law, I can just ignore it?

It would seem Chief Harper thinks himself above the law.


Take him to court then
 
Machjo
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morgan View Post

Take him to court then

If he is indeeed breaking the law, i hope the opposition does so.

According to the article, they are thinking of doing just that.
 
captain morgan
Bloc Québécois
+2
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

If he is indeeed breaking the law, i hope the opposition does so.

According to the article, they are thinking of doing just that.


That will be the only way to determine if any law is broken... Everything else is simply speculation and political posturing
 
damngrumpy
No Party Affiliation
#7
In an open society we have several roads to solve a problem as compare with a
closed society. In the Middle East they just bomb and kill each other or invoke
a special religious law.
In the open society we rely on the courts and the rule of law. We also rely on the
spirit of the law or civil interaction and compromise. Without those avenues we no
longer have an open society. The problem we have here is the current government
doesn't care about the law. Secondly they do now have the spirit of compromise.
The are in fact secretive and deceitful with hiding things in a finance bill and proclaiming
it will create jobs, Without an open debate or disclosure in a timely manner we don't
know what is true. Therefore is it the will of Mr. Harper to embark on a close society?
They have added more debt than any previous government, they have lied about the
military expense contracts and a other things. What other conclusions can one come to?
I think they have now told more lies than the Liberals and that is an achievement in itself.
 
Niflmir
Free Thinker
+1
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morgan View Post

That will be the only way to determine if any law is broken... Everything else is simply speculation and political posturing

Right, because if somebody picks up my jacket and walks off with it right in front of me, the only way for me to get it back is to take them to court.

After all, the only way for me to prove it was stolen is to take them to court...
 
earth_as_one
+1
#9
I support budget secrecy. Only those who need to know, should know until the details are released publicly... preferably after the stock exchange closes.

The term "free and timely access" is rather vague. Sounds like a judgement call. I guess the PM has judged that the time has not yet come to allow the Parliamentary Budget Officer free access to the data.

BTW, I don't like Harper Conservatives. I tend to agree with what DG said.
 
captain morgan
Bloc Québécois
+1
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by Niflmir View Post

Right, because if somebody picks up my jacket and walks off with it right in front of me, the only way for me to get it back is to take them to court.

After all, the only way for me to prove it was stolen is to take them to court...


Spare me please.

This issue is more about timing than anything else, it's not like they are passing unknown legislation and will never, ever reveal the contents... But it sure is a hoot to observe the usual suspects whine and bellyache about the horrible treatment visited upon them and bleat that democracy is bypassed just because they don't like the gvt of the day.

By the way, the guy that walked off with your jacket was the maitre d'... He was only being polite in hanging up your jacket.
 
earth_as_one
#11
I'm not sure if you noticed my post, but I don't like the Harper government and I support budget secrecy.

Regarding the hypothetical situation:

If Niflmir grabbed back his jacket and pummeled the guy to death, he'd be a vigilante hero. Dead people can't explain their actions, so we'd just have to take Niflmir's word that the person who took his coat was a thief. Most people here support vigilante justice and have a demonstrated hostility towards anyone who supports our criminal justice system:
http://forums.canadiancontent.net/ne...s-alleged.html
 
captain morgan
Bloc Québécois
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by earth_as_one View Post

I'm not sure if you noticed my post, but I don't like the Harper government and I support budget secrecy.

I wasn't really referring to you in my previous post

Quote: Originally Posted by earth_as_one View Post

Regarding the hypothetical situation:

If Niflmir grabbed back his jacket and pummeled the guy to death, he'd be a vigilante hero. Dead people can't explain their actions, so we'd just have to take Niflmir's word that the person who took his coat was a thief. Most people here support vigilante justice and have a demonstrated hostility towards anyone who supports our criminal justice system:
http://forums.canadiancontent.net/ne...s-alleged.html

Regrettably, you logic fails to incorporate the notion that this is an expectation of certain roles in specific environments, just like a valet isn't really stealing your car when they drive off with it. Sadly for Niflmir, he will still be subject to the punishments meted-out by the legal system whether he believed in his vigilante status or not

Perhaps you are one of those extremely private and sensitive individuals that sees the bogeyman around every corner or that if you leave the safety of your home that someone will chew your face off.
http://forums.canadiancontent.net/ne...lts-biter.html
 
CDNBear
+1
#13
Border agency told to halt eavesdropping on travellers - Canada - CBC News

Wooot!!!??? Harpers stormtroopers called a halt to the alleged rights infringing act?

Can't be!!!
 
mentalfloss
#14
I thought the conbots believed that with a majority you can do anything you want...

Ottawa stops eavesdropping at the border | The Chronicle Herald
 
CDNBear
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalfloss View Post

I thought the conbots believed that with a majority you can do anything you want...

Ottawa stops eavesdropping at the border | The Chronicle Herald

Seems the CBSA started this, not Harper. Harpers stormtroopers called a halt to it.

What does that have to do with a majority and conbots?
 

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