was full of so many spending
items that it boggled my little-pecker mind.
Who, I wondered, was going to oversee all the spending? Surely Finance Minister Friggin' Flaherty was going to need some Help!
"Okay," I said to self, "No worries, we have an Auditor General and a Parliamentary Budget Officer. What could possibly go wrong?"
THEN I remembered reading this mid-January National Post story:
OTTAWA -- Canada's budget officer Kevin Page says... [he is being 'systematically undermined' in] his work .... Mr. Page pulled no punches in a written plea to party leaders, urging MPs and senators to bring "clarity" to the confusion over his mandate ... [Mr. Page] argues ... interference in the management of his office is preventing him from doing the oversight he believes he was hired to do - at a time of economic upheaval when every dollar counts.... Mr. Page says it's up to parliamentarians to decide what they expect from the post.
"In order for me to fulfill the legislated mandate I require restoration of the PBO budget ... and ongoing and greater clarity from parliamentarians on the independence and operating model of the PBO function."
.... the embattled budget officer says he needs more independence to manage his office. The office deals with potentially politically explosive issues, such as studies into the sale of assets, the auto bailout, and the risks of ongoing deficits, so it needs protection from reprisals if it publishes reports that don't sit well with the government.... Some speculate the hiring delays and budget cut will effectively squeeze Mr. Page out of a job and that it wouldn't be happening without the government's blessing... "
AND now Friggin' Flaherty wants to have carte blanche authority over a new $3 Billion discretionary chequing account??? How do we know it won't be used to fund a Tory re-election campaign? Who is accountable?
To simple Jim's request for a slush fund I say NO! No matter how pressing the recession (you denied existed) gets - no matter how you frame your argument - no matter how you rationalize it - - I say, emphatically ... No Thanks!