01/25/2013 12:26 EST | Updated 03/26/2013 05:12 EDT

Kevin Page lists 'magic' among budget watchdog must-haves

When Kevin Page steps down as Canada's parliamentary budget officer this year, it seems that finding someone to fill his shoes will be no easy task.

With only two months left until Page's five-year term ends, the process of finding his replacement hasn't even begun. In fact, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to request that Page's term be extended beyond March 25 until a suitable successor can be found.

After spending the last five years on the job dealing with critics — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty once dismissed him as "unbelievable, unreliable and incredible" — and battling against an alleged culture of secrecy in the Harper government, Page himself has offered CBC Radio's As It Happens a list of key skills and characteristics necessary to be Canada's next parliamentary budget officer:


- early childhood development

- the art of magic

- smoke and mirrors

- numeracy

- primary education level


- decades of experience toiling away under senior public service and cabinet ministers in finance or treasury departments whose primary interest is to advance their personal careers at the expense of the democratic and financial health of the country

In his letter to As It Happens, Page also added that his replacement "should be ready for retirement because the successful candidate will be unemployable after one mandate."