Parliamentary Budget Officer Releases Report on the Fiscal Impact of the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan



    OTTAWA, Oct. 9 /CNW Telbec/ - The Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO),
Kevin Page, today made his report available on The Fiscal Impact of the
Canadian Mission in Afghanistan.
    "This is the first comprehensive costing of Canada's Afghanistan mission
covering military operations, development aid and reconstruction costs, and
the long-term costs of taking care of Canada's veterans," said Kevin Page. "It
also projects future costs of the mission until 2010-11, and is supported by a
rigorous methodology, impartial analysis and has been peer-reviewed by an
independent panel of distinguished international financial and defence
experts."
    "The Report outlines the total estimated incremental fiscal cost of the
Afghanistan mission to-date (FY2001-02 to FY2007-08), which ranges from
$7.7 billion to $10.5 billion", Mr. Page stated. "The total projected mission
cost of up to $18.1 billion over the 2001-02 to 2010-11 period represents
close to $1,500 per Canadian household." he added.
    In June 2008, the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer was asked by
the Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Centre to examine the costs of Canada's
mission in Afghanistan. The Parliamentary Budget Officer undertook the study
given the potential fiscal and budgetary impact to the Government of Canada in
managing the mission, the ability of this costing to enhance budgetary
transparency, and the Report's potential to help inform Parliamentary and
public debate on this issue.
    In releasing the Report, Mr. Page noted that, "When compared with
international experience, Canada appears to lag behind the best practices of
other jurisdictions in terms of the quality and frequency of war cost
reporting to their respective legislatures."
    The Parliamentary Budget Officer made the following recommendations to
the next Parliament:

    
        1. That the next President of the Treasury Board and the officials of
           the Treasury Board Secretariat work with federal departments
           involved in the Afghanistan Mission and agree on a common
           methodology for costing the fiscal impact of Canada's mission in
           Afghanistan and make this methodology fully transparent to
           Parliamentarians and Canadians.

        2. That detailed financial and non-financial information be used to
           generate fiscal costs on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan using
           a published methodology and that these costs be reported in a
           consistent fashion to Parliament beginning with the 2009-10
           Reports on Plans and Priorities (RPP) and Departmental Performance
           Reports (DPR). This would give Parliamentarians the information
           they need for an informed debate on the mission and can enable
           them to undertake their oversight role with respect to the
           stewardship of public funds on behalf of all Canadians.

        3. That the next Parliament move to an accrual-based appropriation
           system from the current cash-based appropriation system. This
           would provide greater fiscal transparency and a more informed
           Parliamentary and public debate.
    

    "It is the role of the Parliamentary Budget Officer to highlight examples
of best practices and to inform parliamentarians on how these best practices
could be achieved based on international practices", Mr. Page said. "We hope
that this study will support an informed Parliamentary and public debate
within the broader context of Canada's role in Afghanistan and contribute to
improved fiscal transparency. We look forward to working with all government
departments and agencies on future reports," Mr. Page concluded.
    The full Report and Methodology documents are available in English and
French online www.parl.gc.ca/pbo-dpb.

    About the Parliamentary Budget Officer
    --------------------------------------

    The Parliamentary Budget Officer is an independent Officer of Parliament
created by the Federal Accountability Act. The role of the PBO is to provide
independent analysis to Parliament and Canadians about the state of the
nation's finances, the government's planned expenditures, and trends in the
national economy.




For further information:

For further information: Marie-France MacKinnon, Bluesky Strategy Group,
(613) 241-3512 ext. 229, marie.france@blueskystrategygroup.com

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