When the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge, in a recent interview, asked Stephen Harper about the apparent growth in the size of government during his five years in office, the prime minister was defensive. Harper pointed to his expansion of the military and RCMP, along with priorities like food inspection. Beyond those narrow areas, he claimed, “if you look at the trend size of government with the recovery, it’s not growing in this country.” Now comes this straightforward story on the size of government. Leaving aside the military and the Mounties, the public service “swelled by 33,023 people, slightly more than 13 per cent, over five years.” How does that compare with the overall growth in the Canadian population? Under the Harper government, public service expansion has outstripped it by 7.8 per cent.