Public servants : a big yes!
The federal public service has been a whipping boy of the last government, supposedly saving us tax dollars by laying off unionized public servants in favour of contract workers. Those who did not lose their jobs were thus warned and hundreds of families have limited their spending, house repairs, etc., because of this uncertainty. Aylmer’s retail business has felt the impact for several years.
How this makes that government a promoter of the economy is difficult to understand, but the party supporters keep repeating the mantra no matter its lack of evidence.
The opposite approach was one championed by the late Jack Layton who called public service “the highest of callings”, since these are the people who help ordinary Canadians and businesses and who make sure our government keeps chugging along. Hardly the same corporate song-book as those who claim public servants are largely free-loaders, arrogant, and over-paid. With big pensions.
The very politicians who make these accusations are, incidentally, quite well paid themselves, with full pensions after only two terms in office. A cabinet pension is equivalent to winning the lottery, but, no matter, the nine-to-fivers are ripping us off, is what they say.
Mr Layton had it right. Not only are public servants just that, our servants, but they cannot do their jobs well if they are under threat and demonized on every occasion. Obviously, the goal of the last few governments has been to privatize many government services.
The way to do this is not to merely shut down their departments and transfer them to private corporations – often donors to these very parties – but to run the branches and services down so far that the public will cry for their “reform”. Sounds familiar with the health system?
The fact is we will get better service and loyalty from our public servants if they are treated as human beings, as we would all like to be treated, and if we modernize their tasks, mandates, and tools – not dismantle them.
Public servants are not the cause of red tape. They have to deal with it every day. Teachers, nurses, doctors, scientists, police and fire-fighters are all public servants; who would introduce the profit motive into their services? No thanks!
We citizens want the public service rebuilt and given support, not the opposite. Certainly government services can be upgraded. Redundancies can be eliminated, and some areas not serviced can be brought into the fold, without increasing the tax load substantially. And, yes, all of this requires taxes. Anti-tax folks might describe for us a world without any government services and infrastructure – then let us decide if paying taxes is so bad!
Canada’s civil service and its government programs have long been praised and imitated by other nations. Our separation of the bureaucracy from the politicians is notable around the world. Why dismantle what is working well?
And why would we vote for ANY party which promises to dismantle those services?