Tories can’t wait to get rid of Kevin Page but the NDP aren’t ready to say to goodbye

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

The NDP are trying to keep Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page around for a little while longer.

Page, who has been a thorn on the side of the Harper government, officially ends his 5 year term on March 25th.

According to MacLean's, however, NDP finance critic Peggy Nash will present a motion at Committee on Tuesday in a last minute attempt to extend his tenure.

"That the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance recommend that the government extend Kevin Page’s term as Parliamentary Budget Officer until a thorough, transparent and competitive search for his replacement can be completed and his successor is appointed."

Don't expect the motion to pass.

[ Related: Kevin Page embarrasses Harper government over billions in budget cuts ]

Page's reports and his public comments against things like the Harper government's mishandling of the F-35 procurement process and a lack of transparency about spending cuts has made him an unpopular individual within Conservative party ranks.

Finance minister Jim Flaherty and Treasury Board President Tony Clement have chided the budget watchdog for 'overstepping his mandate." Tory back-bencher Brent Rathgeber told The Hill Times that his fellow MPs are hesitant to seek advice from Page because the position has become 'too public.'

"“The office has strayed from its intended mandate which was to provide non-partisan, independent advice. The perception, rightly or wrongly, is that the office has become part of the opposition’s research branch. I don’t think that was the intent, but it just evolved,” said Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber (Edmonton-St. Alberta, Alta.).

Mr. Rathgeber said that the office’s high media profile, and the practice of releasing all of its reports publicly has meant that controversy-shy government MPs “almost never” ask the office for research."

The Hill Times notes that a search for a new PBO has begun and could take until September.

[ More Political Points: Senators behaving badly: Expensive flights, native rights and a health card fight ]

Meanwhile, here is last week's 'rant' by CBC's Rick Mercer — he does a good job paying tribute to Kevin Page, Canada's most popular accountant:

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