OTTAWA - The Conservative government is citing a three-year-old committee report to bolster its case that the parliamentary budget officer is out of bounds.
Kevin Page, the Tory-appointed budget watchdog, is waging a legal battle to ensure federal departments provide him with timely information on 2012 budget cuts.
But the government is stonewalling, and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told the House of Commons this week that Page has "overstepped his mandate."
Baird didn't provide any examples, but Treasury Board President Tony Clement is now citing a 2009 study of Page's reporting powers.
An all-party committee found that Page should not be making his reports public without the permission of the MP who requested the study, nor should he be releasing them during election campaigns when they might inform Canadians and influence voting.
However the committee did not examine the budget officer's ability to obtain financial data — and Page has a legal opinion stating his mandate clearly gives him the power to demand timely government information.