Robyn Benson, PSAC

Dulling Harper's cutting edge


We’ve just launched a nationwide campaign to inform Canadians about the real impact of Harper’s cuts to public services. It’s time.

I’m proud of our union for taking this on. Our mandate was an emergency resolution at our recent Triennial Convention, committing us to

  • oppose government actions that will compromise any of our members’ rights;
  • continue organizing and mobilizing our members through concerted and strategic actions with other unions to defend our bargaining rights;
  • take the necessary legal action to defend our constitutional right to free collective bargaining; and
  • work to elect a federal government that respects worker and union rights and federal public services, and that governs for the benefit of all Canadian workers.

The resolution passed unanimously—with a $5 million fund to back it up. Now, with just a few weeks before the federal election on October 19, we’re taking on point four. No union can afford to sit this election out. In fact, it would be irresponsible to do so. To those who insist that unions not be “political,” I ask: what choice do we have? And when I say “we,” I’m referring to each and every member of the PSAC. This campaign, probably the most important one we’ve ever initiated, cannot succeed without the active involvement of the rank-and-file.

So, go to our campaign web site and start sharing what’s there through social media. Follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter. Ask your co-workers, family and friends to vote to stop the cuts.

Federal public services are under unprecedented attack. Harper has hacked away more than $14.5 billion a year from public services since 2010.

We are all affected by the slash-and-burn program of this government. Cuts have landed everywhere: to border security, search and rescue, environmental protection, food safety, employment insurance, veterans’ services, vital scientific research—the list seems never-ending.

And it gets worse. When governments play the austerity game, there’s a trickle-down effect: federal cuts lead to provincial cuts, and responsibility for a wide range of social services is then downloaded to the municipalities—without the funds to pay for them.


Those who try to keep delivering quality services to the public are burning out. Members from coast to coast to coast have been telling me for months about their struggles to cope with increased workloads and backlogs. The resulting stress has reached crisis levels, something that the government has been forced to recognize at the bargaining table, thanks to the dedication of our teams.

Our members are suffering, and so are the millions of Canadians who depend upon their work. Our campaign will tackle all of this head-on.

To be blunt, Canadians—our members and the general public—have reached the breaking point. Restoring quality public services should be everyone’s priority. And we, collectively, have a golden opportunity to do something about that in a few short weeks. Let’s count ourselves in.

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This page contains a single entry by Robyn Benson, PSAC published on July 16, 2015 11:00 AM.

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Harper's child benefit: bribing Canadians with their own money is the next entry in this blog.

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