06/19/2018 17:47 EDT | Updated 06/19/2018 21:35 EDT

Yves Giroux Tapped By Trudeau To Serve As New Parliamentary Budget Officer

He's spent more than 20 years in the public service.

PCO handout
Yves Giroux, a career public servant, has been nominated as the next parliamentary budget officer.

"This is good," he told HuffPost Canada. "I wish Mr. Giroux the very best."

Jean-Denis Frechette, whose five-year appointment is ending, was an economist with 27 years of experience working at the Library of Parliament. However, he did not have central-agency budget experience.

He was appointed by former prime minister Stephen Harper after Page's tenure was characterized by financial reports that embarrassed the government, such as one outlining the cost of the war in Afghanistan and another noting the government was dramatically underestimating the costs of purchasing 65 F-35 fighter jets. Page also feuded with the public service, who refused to hand over documents the independent office needed to make its estimates.

The federal government's appointment panel passed over Dr. Mostafa Askari, the current assistant parliamentary budget officer. Askari, who also worked under Page, was in recent years tasked with being the office's spokesperson and with testifying before parliamentary committees to explain the PBO's reports.

Page, now the president and CEO of the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy at the University of Ottawa, said the PBO's "high standing" around the world was largely due to Askari's steadfast efforts since the office's inception in 2008.

In making the announcement, Trudeau said Giroux is a good fit for the job.

"Mr. Giroux's senior leadership experience and knowledge of the federal budget process have made him a key expert in the field," Trudeau said in a statement.

"I am confident he will do a thorough job providing the independent, easy to understand information Parliamentarians need to make decisions about our country's future."

PBO will cost out election promises

The Liberals introduced legislation to extend the budget officer's term to seven years but they have also impeded the office's ability to produce politically sensitive research by restricting the right of members of Parliament to make broad requests.

The parliamentary budget officer provides independent, non-partisan analysis on the state of government and estimates and looks at economic trends.

The office, under new legislation, will also cost out election campaign proposals and estimate the costs of any legislation that an MP is considering making.

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