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Liberal MP calls out PBO for error in carbon price analysis, asks for correction

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OTTAWA -

The parliamentary secretary for Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is criticizing the parliamentary budget officer for not issuing a more-public correction to its carbon price analysis after finding an error in it.

The PBO published a note on its website on April 17 admitting its economic analyses of the consumer carbon price, done in both 2022 and 2023, erroneously included the impact of the industrial carbon price, too.

The PBO says it plans to publish an updated analysis in the fall.

Liberal MP and parliamentary secretary Ryan Turnbull said in a letter sent to PBO Yves Giroux on Tuesday that his office should have gone to greater lengths to ensure the public be notified of the error -- and explain how it may have skewed the results.

"With great respect, correcting the record on your analysis of the fuel charge is necessary to maintain the integrity of your office," Turnbull wrote.

Turnbull said the PBO's mistake raises "significant questions" about the analysis, which he notes has been at the centre of political debates about the impact of carbon pricing.

"At a time when misinformation on carbon pricing is running rampant, this is deeply unfortunate, as your office has a well-earned reputation for non-partisan and rigorous analysis," he added.

The PBO's original analyses claimed that while most families would receive more from rebates than they paid in carbon pricing, those benefits would be erased once the impact on job growth and incomes was factored in.

The federal Conservatives have frequently cited the PBO's work to support their argument that the carbon price is leaving Canadian families financially worse off.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2024.

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