PBO says he was asked to calculate cost of platforms outside of election campaign – National


The parliamentary budget office says parties’ demand to cost their campaign pledges has exceeded expectations this year, but stops short of saying it must revisit plans between general elections.

Since 2019, political parties can ask the budget office to review the cost of their campaign pledges 120 days before a set election date.

But that latest campaign came two years ahead of schedule after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pulled the plug on his minority Liberal government.

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Over five weeks, the PBO costed 130 proposals from four parties and released 72, marking a faster pace than the 216 requests and 115 that were released in 2019 between June 24 and election day on October 21 of the same year.

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During a review of the costing department, the budget office learned that it should consider allocating resources to party pledges confidentially outside of the 120-day statutory window in order to ” get estimates faster.

The report says this would be especially important in a short campaign that takes place outside of the fixed-date election period, when the platforms could be published upfront.

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To do this, the report says parliament should amend the law and possibly expand the budget office to handle the extra work.

The report released Thursday said the parliamentary budget office should instead keep in touch with political parties outside of the official campaign period, but leave the costing services to the 120-day pre-election period at most.

© 2021 The Canadian Press


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