PBO says it was asked to cost platforms outside election campaign  – National

The parliamentary budget office says demand from parties to cost their campaign promises shot well past expected this year, but is stopping short of saying it must review planks between general elections.

Since 2019, political parties have been able to ask the budget office to review the costing of their campaign promises 120 days before a fixed election date.

But this past campaign came two years ahead of time after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pulled the plug on his minority Liberal government.

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Over five weeks, the PBO costed 130 proposals from four parties and published 72 of them, marking a faster pace than the 216 requests and 115 that were published in 2019 between June 24 and election day on Oct. 21 of that year.

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In a review of the costing service, the budget office heard that it should look at earmarking resources to confidentially cost party promises outside the legislated 120-day window to more quickly get estimates out the door.

The report says that would be particularly important during a short campaign that happens outside of the fixed election date period when platforms could be released off the bat.

Click to play video: 'Canada election: Liberals unveil fully costed platform'

Canada election: Liberals unveil fully costed platform

Canada election: Liberals unveil fully costed platform – Sep 1, 2021

To do that, the report says Parliament would have to change the law and likely grow the budget office to handle the extra work.

The report released Thursday says the parliamentary budget office should instead keep in touch with political parties outside of the official campaign period, but leave any specific costing services at most to the 120-day pre-election period.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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