Robyn Benson, PSAC

Mad slashing


Want to cut, cut, cut public services in Canada? Apparently you don’t need a plan, just sharp knives and an attitude.

In a nutshell, that’s what the latest report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer says. Read his key conclusions:

For fiscal years 2010-11 through 2012-13, no consistent statistically significant relationship exists between a department’s performance and its budget growth in the subsequent year.

The performance data for 108 organizations does not suggest that financial resources have been reallocated from low-performing to high-performing programs. Rather, low-performing programs were somewhat more likely, on average, to receive budget increases in the subsequent year than programs that met targets or did not present measurable performance data.

Um, what?

Let’s re-phrase. The government has been blindly cutting public services without the slightest regard for the effects. And they’re going to keep on doing it—another nine thousand jobs are on the line over the next three years. A total of 35,000 jobs will have been eliminated since 2010 by the Harper government, all told.

And, as in a splatter-flick, it’s not so much who is killed, but how much blood flows.

To call this irresponsible to Canadians is an understatement.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer has been unable to get detailed information about these on-going cuts since 2012. No wonder Treasury Board President Tony Clement refuses to be frank about them. From the evidence of this Report, it’s like he’s just been tossing coins to see who’s out and who stays. There’s no method here, only madness.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Lest we forget: Nine regional Veterans Affairs offices serving veterans in need across the country have been closed. We now have the lowest ratio of Veterans’ Affairs workers to veterans ever. Meanwhile, Harper has spent millions commemorating the War of 1812.

  • Bridges to nowhere: Road and bridges to our national parks will be improved—after Parks Canada services were cut, access to the parks was reduced, and environmental protections were gutted.

  • Searching for rescue: The government is now tossing a tax credit at search and rescue volunteers—after shutting down vital search and rescue stations in Kitsilano, BC and St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • Eat at your own risk: Harper has cut food inspection capacity for years, to dangerously low levels. Now it’s approved a small increase for new food inspectors. Flip-flop, or just a lack of forward planning?

  • EI, EI, ouch: Unemployed Canadians receiving EI benefits has dropped to the lowest level in Canadian history, thanks to stringent new rules imposed by the Harper government. At the same time, the government has made a few cosmetic “improvements” that will do nothing at all for the increasing number of Canadians trying to exist on precarious employment.

Were in good shape financially, as world markets have recovered after the 2008 recession. Harper could be putting money into a national childcare program, transportation safety in the wake of Lac-Megantic, and retirement security. Nope, not interested.

Cut, cut, cut. No matter what. No matter whom.

In this round of collective bargaining we’re on the front lines once again. We’re there to defend public services that benefit all Canadians. Because the last thing our country needs is more Freddy Krueger.

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This page contains a single entry by Robyn Benson, PSAC published on September 18, 2014 8:02 AM.

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