In a post-election review, the PBO asked to look at cost platforms outside the campaign

OTTAWA – The parliamentary budget office says demands from parties to cost their campaign promises have gone far beyond expectations this year, but stops saying it needs to revise planks between parliamentary elections.

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

But this latest campaign came two years ahead of schedule after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pulled the plug on his liberal minority government.

Over five weeks, the PBO cost 130 proposals from four parties and published 72 of them, marking a faster pace than the 216 requests and 115 published in 2019 between June 24 and Election Day on October 21 of that year.

In a review of the calculation service, the budget office heard that one should look at earmarking resources to confidentially cost party vows outside the legal 120-day window to get estimates out the door faster.

The report says it would be particularly important during a short campaign taking place outside the set election date period where platforms could be released off the water.

To do so, the report says parliament needs to change the law and probably expand the budget office to handle the extra work.

The report, released on Thursday, says Parliament’s budget office should instead keep in touch with political parties outside the official campaign period, leaving a maximum of any specific costs to 120 days before the election.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on November 25, 2021.

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