In a surprise (well, at least to some of us) ruling, Upper House Speaker Noel Kinsella has sided with Independent Senator Anne Cools, clearing the way for the Senate to order the parliamentary budget officer to drop his legal challenge against the federal government for failing to disclose data.
The nut graf of that ruling, which you can read in full below:
By asking the courts to decide thequestion of his mandate, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has disregarded the established authority and organizational structure of which he is a part.The question of his mandate is solely for Parliament to determine.The officer's actions run contrary to the constitutional separation of powers between the branches of government. As a consequence, both the second and third criteria have been fulfilled.
Later tonight, the Senate will begin debate on a motion to refer the matter to the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament, which would report its recommendations -- which, as Cools suggested in her initial complaint, could include a direct order to current PBO Kevin Page to withdraw his legal request for a court ruling on the extent of his mandate.
For more background on what is, as far as I can tell, unprecedented procedural ground for the Red Chamber, read this recap of the debate so far. As soon as I know what's likely to happen next, I'll post an update.
In the meantime, hit the jump for the full text of Kinsella's ruling.