The Ole Nag is Back

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government’s efforts to streamline its budgeting process mean $7 billion in new spending commitments would be subject to far less parliamentary scrutiny — and the money could technically be spent elsewhere, says the federal spending watchdog.

The Parliamentary Budget Office report painted a bleaker picture of what it called a “novel” approach that ultimately removes power from the elected House.

Until now, Parliament would approve spending only after funding had been scrutinized and approved in the Treasury Board’s submission process. Not so with “Vote 40,” which would approve the $7 billion prior to such scrutiny and lessen Parliament’s legal controls over where money is spent, indicating to the PBO that “due diligence will no longer be performed on new budget spending measures before the government asks for Parliament’s assent.”