Roundup: Page takes aim at the real problem of Parliament

iPolitics‘ Colin Horgan had a good talk with Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page, who breaks down some of the key concerns that his office has – that the political executive is now steamrolling budgets through without due diligence and telling MPs to trust them and check their work afterwards, when the Public Accounts come out, because the process is so convoluted. And he’s right – it is broken, but not only because the executive has gamed the system, but because MPs have decided to abdicate their responsibility to scrutinise the estimates because they have other priorities, like their eleventieth Private Members’ Bill that won’t see the light of day, or scoring political points in the scandal of the day, or pet hobby projects that yes, they may care about and may be important, but ultimately at the cost of their actual job of scrutiny. Add to that how they’re using their staff to shepherd through passports and immigration files rather than assisting them in the actual analysis work. Yes, the system needs to be fixed, but I will caution that the changes need to come from the ground up. Voters need to demand that their MPs do their due diligence, and MPs need to take that job seriously and not fob it off onto the PBO, as they have been doing, often under the rubric that his numbers can be trusted because he’s non-partial. Meanwhile, there is insufficient pushback – especially from the government backbenchers, who aren’t supposed to just parrot mindless slogans – and we wind up with a situation like we have today. At least Page is talking about the actual problem and laying the blame where it needs to be laid, rather than just pouting about the current government being mean (as so many others are doing).

#IdleNoMore protests were staged across the country yesterday, including over a thousand people showing up on Parliament Hill in the midst of a major snowfall. Maclean’s John Geddes looks at said protests and wonders how the protests will move from nebulous demands to purposeful negotiation, which would really be the point where Harper comes into the picture.

As more government employees move to smartphones other than BlackBerries, experts warn of security dangers – especially because many smartphones are designed to “gather and share information promiscuously.”

Here are some figures that track how our participation in UN missions dropped dramatically after the Conservatives took power in 2005.

Hélène Laverdière and Julian Fantino snipe about the role of CIDA.

Economist Stephen Gordon takes a second look at income inequality numbers and finds that by some measures, it is higher than twenty years ago. But it all depends on how you look at the numbers.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Marc Garneau insists that he’s really not too nice for political leadership, as well as answering a few more broad policy questions. Meanwhile, crazy people are thanking God for creating the snowstorm that prevented Justin Trudeau from speaking to Catholic students in Sudbury. No, seriously.

Here is your final recap of the political shows of the year, featuring the last MP panel of the year, talking about the aboriginal protests. (Politics on TV will be back when the House returns).

And Jason Kenney offers his Christmas greetings to Santa Claus, and uses it as an excuse to plug the Alert airport control tower, which not only will help guide Santa, but also helps exercise our sovereignty in the Arctic.