Going back to Spring 2011, you will remember when Minister John Baird said that any modest reductions in the public service can occur through attrition and that liberals are mounting a fear mongering campaign with regard to these upcoming reductions in government services (iPolitics, April 9, 2011). Based on the recent government position on this matter, I said: Really, Mr. Baird?
Canada’s public servants are walking on a tightrope since Minister Tony Clement was tasked to put together a strategic and operational review of costs in the service, and thousands may lose their jobs. To make a long story short, we are going through a definite period of uncertainty.
"One thing is certain: whatever shape these cuts will take, the job losses will be considerable. [...] One of the major problems is transparency. The Government did not provide any information with regard to positions that will be abolished, nor did it say why they will be" — David Macdonald, economist and author of the report entitled The Cuts behind the Curtain (available on the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives at www.policyalternatives.ca).
How these cuts will affect federal services is difficult to predict, said Mr. Macdonald, due to the limited information disclosed by Ottawa on this issue. The public service cuts, ranging from 5 to 10%, that the Harper government is about to make in order to eliminate the deficit, shows a gross "lack of vision".
The Conservatives have made a fundamental error after taking power in wasting the extra $ 13.2 billion that the Liberal government had accumulated. To eliminate the deficit inherited by the Mulroney government in 1990s, Jean Chrétien's Liberals favoured a balanced approach and review "program by program," thereby cushioning as much as possible the negative impact on the federal public service and, evidently, on the economy of the National Capital Region.
The Conservative government is preparing to cut more than 60,000 jobs between 2012 and 2015. Mr. Macdonald said in his study, that the reduction of positions in the public service for the National Capital Region will be over some 22 000 jobs during this period. Obviously, it is the middle class and the poorest among us who will suffer in the end.