The quiet cuts

The hunt for the government’s mysterious spending cuts continues

The hunt for the government’s mysterious cuts—as initiated by our Paul Wells—continues. Bill Curry finds $45-million taken from the Green Infrastructure Fund. Meanwhile, Tim Naumetz reviews the main estimates.

Almost all of the government’s security and public safety programs are increasing either modestly or substantially, including a 21 per cent hike in spending for the Correctional Service to $2.98-billion. The Canada Border Services Agency is receiving a 14 per cent increase, to $1.84-billion, and the Office of the Correctional Investigator, responsible for hearing complaints from offenders, is going up by 21 per cent, to $4.3-million.

But spending by the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is being reduced by 5.9 per cent to $414.6-million … The National Research Council will have its spending cut by 7.8 per cent to $690,836,000. Spending by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is set to drop by 10 per cent to $118,264,000 … The Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission is targeted for a 20 per-cent reduction in its spending, to $4.5-million from $4.7-million. Among the other agencies where cuts are planned, the Public Health Agency of Canada is set to have its spending cut by 8.2 per cent to $622-million.




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The quiet cuts

  1. Until Government decides to take on the unions and their selfish behaviour, government is not going to shrink its costs. Government might fire some people or cancel a few programs but costs will continue to rise until someone has cojones to take on unions.

    Costs are increasing, while programs are being cut, because of greedy union employees. What is happening in Ont at moment illustrates what is happening Federally. Maybe Government will get costs under control when it stops thinking of hospitals as independent employers they can’t influence.

    “Despite calls for a provincial public sector wage freeze, an arbitrator has awarded more than 50,000 Ontario nurses with a lump sum bonus for the next two years.

    McGuinty said all non-unionized staff working for the province has pay freezes but the province can’t stop employers such as hospitals working out unionized contract agreements and bonuses.

    “Just to be clear, we said for those people who work directly for us in non-unionized sectors, we would impose a wage freeze on them,” he said.”

    http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/article/1002549–nurses-get-bonuses-despite-wage-freeze

    While enrolment at the Catholic school board has declined, spending on administration has jumped 30 per cent.

    http://www.windsorstar.com/business/Administration+costs+soar+enrolment+falls/4800862/story.html

    • Pay nurses, or lose them.

      • Lose them where?

        • To Texas and Michigan for starters.

          • I am not sure if your answer is serious or not – you really think 50,000 nurses going to move to Michigan and Texas if they don’t receive ‘lump sum bonus’? 

            Michigan is bankrupt, I doubt very much they are hiring tens of thousands of foreign nurses at moment. Hiring their own nurses, I would think.

        • Honestly Tony, would you work variable 12 hour shifts day and night cleaning up barf and blood, bathing sick and bedsore ridden bodies injecting needles, watching people suffer every day of your working life etc etc… for $40 to $50K per year?

          It’s supply and demand Tony, and even in our monopolistic healthcare system you can’t hire enough nurses for less than that, and we already have a shortage for pete’s sake.

          http://www.nurses4canada.com/livingcost.html

          http://www.worldsalaries.org/professionalnurse.shtml

    • Programs are being cut because of tax cuts benefitting greedy corprorations and selfish citizens. Proftable companies and affluent Canadians should pay more to support border security, Corrections and nuclear safety.

      • People who aren’t part of unions know who the selfish ones are.

        In fact, the strongest arguments against corporate tax come from the left. They were most eloquently expressed by Robert Reich, the economist who was considered on the far left of Bill Clinton’s cabinet during his tenure as labour secretary. Corporate tax, he noted, is fundamentally regressive: It shifts wealth to the rich.

        And not just because General Electric avoids it and corner shops don’t. Since corporations do not physically exist, corporate tax is ultimately paid by individuals – and, as many studies have shown, those individuals tend to be the company’s workers more often than its shareholders or executives.

        There is another strong argument against corporate tax: It gives businesses far too much power in politics, law and society. As “taxpayers,” corporations are given citizen-like rights in court and legislatures; as financiers of the state, they are given far too much lobbying power and influence over legislation – almost obligatory given their large taxpaying role.
        http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/abolish-corporate-tax-it-has-been-a-worldwide-failure/article1987495/

        Detailed analysis of 2006 Census findings on full-time earnings by sector and occupation show that government and public sector employees are paid roughly 8 to 17 per cent more than similarly employed individuals in the private sector. In addition, taking into account significantly higher paid benefits and shorter workweeks, the public sector total compensation advantage balloons past 30 per cent.
        http://www.cfib-fcei.ca/cfib-documents/rr3077.pdf

        The aforementioned CD Howe report notes that total compensation per civilian employee in the federal government reached $94, 000 in 2009/2010, nearly double the average of $47,500 in the private economy.
        http://www.fcpp.org/publication.php/3790?print=yes

    • Should people work for free?

      • People can work for free if they wish but that’s not very wise. 

        Who’s working for free? Wouldn’t that be called volunteer? 

        • Should people not be allowed to negotiate their wages and working conditions?

          • In private sector, I don’t agree with unions but can understand their function. Labour and management battle to divide profits but both have motive to keep business running well and profitable because everyone is dependent.

            Government does not produce wealth, it takes from private sector. When left wing people talk about profits or greedy corporations, they are talking about private sector salaries. 

            How long do you think private sector can continue to pay public servants twice as much as we are paid ourselves, along with paying for everyone’s health care, education, welfare …. etc. 

            “Since corporations do not physically exist, corporate tax is ultimately paid by individuals – and, as many studies have shown, those individuals tend to be the company’s workers more often than its shareholders or executives.”
            http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/abolish-corporate-tax-it-has-been-a-worldwide-failure/article1987495/

            “The aforementioned CD Howe report notes that total compensation per civilian employee in the federal government reached $94, 000 in 2009/2010, nearly double the average of $47,500 in the private economy.”

            “Canada’s federal deficit for the 2009-10 fiscal year is a record $55.6 billion, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced Tuesday.”
            http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2010/10/12/flaherty-fiscal-update.html

          • Your view of unionism is missing a bit of history.  Unions originally formed to get working people livable wages, to do away with indentured servitude, and to prevent workplace abuses (among other things).  They were met with state-sponsored violence at the behest of the ownership.  Your lot was among the group who would send in the Pinkertons to bust up striking miners in the days of yore.

          • Your view of what it is like in Canada in 21st century is out of date. 

            One hundred years ago, I would have been liberal and on side of workers. Now that Libs have become socialists, workers and many others move over to Conservative. 

            Libs who are reactionary, trying to protect their interests. Look at education levels and who they vote for and you will see working class votes Conservative because they know wealth and salary are important to survival while educated support socialism. 

            Libs only care about themselves – most talk is all about protecting middle class jobs instead of focusing on who pays for bureaucracy.

            That’s why workers vote Con, because they know Libs and left wing are self centred and don’t believe in wealth creation or scarcity. 

            Also, I agree unions played a role in protecting workers when there were no labour laws a hundred years ago but now we have a ton of labour laws protecting workers.

            All unions do anymore is negotiate agreements where union members get paid more in exchange for doing less work.

             ”The Ipsos-Reid poll found that 36 per cent of those polled who have a university degree support the Liberals, compared to 30 per cent who support the Tories. But among those Canadians whose highest level of learning was a high school education, the Tories are much more popular than the Liberals — 37 per cent to 27 per cent.”

            Why are Toronto’s costs higher instead of lower than its neighbours? Salaries are one factor. Toronto’s unionized work force averages more than $30 per hour in wages and benefits, fully 50% higher than the private sector average. More important than the compensation, however, is the productivity of the workers. Private sector workers handle a staggering two-and-a-half to three times more waste per hour than Toronto’s union workers.

            http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2009/07/25/lawrence-solomon-bring-back-garbage-s-glory-days.aspx

          • I see the principle of divide and conquer is working with some people.  There was a time when the larger unions worked to improve the working conditions and wages of all workers (this still happens in rare cases when general strikes are called in other parts of the world).

            You are cheering for a competition between workers in different sectors to bring down the gains and acheivements of each other.  Petty jealousy has no place when the true problem affecting North American wealth is the lowering of wages across the board, largely due to the shift of work from livable middle-class manufacturing jobs to poverty-level service jobs, and the concentration of wealth with the richest 1%.  If workers in one sector are being more effective at bargaining than their fellows in another sector, perhaps the workers in that other sector should ask “what are they doing that we can emulate?” rather than crying “they don’t deserve their compensation.”

          • Your opinion does not match reality.

            Where is the wealth being transferred to?

            In February, the Frontier Centre for Public Policy released a study showing average wages for federal public administration workers increased faster than the average wage for any other major category of worker, growing 59 percent between 1998 and 2009 according to Statistics Canada.

            The federal government’s civilian workforce grew by 35 percent between 1999 and 2009, while the Canadian population increased by only 11 percent. Jobs in the for-profit sector of the economy increased by 14 percent during this time period.

            By comparison, average wages across the economy increased only 30 percent. The aforementioned CD Howe report notes that total compensation per civilian employee in the federal government reached $94, 000 in 2009/2010, nearly double the average of $47,500 in the private economy.

            http://www.fcpp.org/publication.php/3790?print=yes

            “For me to make that amount of money, I would have to work twice as much time,” tradesman Tim Cogswell told CTV News.

            But civil servant Shannon Steele said she earns her pay.

            “Of course I get more benefits and stuff, but I think I deserve them,” she said. “I do a lot of work, and it’s stressful.”

            http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20070730/civil_servants_070730/

          • The irony about general intelligence is that ordinary folks of average intelligence recognize its variance across people, its generality across domains, and its importance in life. 

            Yet educated elites meanwhile often remain implacably opposed to the very concept of general intelligence, and deny its variance, generality, and importance. Professors and students at elite universities are especially prone to this pseudohumility. 

            Yet this overt contempt for the concept of intelligence has never undermined our universal worship of the intelligence-based meritocracy that drives capitalist educational and occupational aspirations. All parents glow with pride when their children score well on standardized tests, get into elite universities that require high test scores, and pursue careers that require elite university degrees.

            http://isteve.blogspot.com/2009/05/geoffrey-miller-on-iq.html

          •  If workers in one sector are being more effective at bargaining than their fellows in another sector, perhaps the workers in that other sector should ask “what are they doing that we can emulate?” rather than crying “they don’t deserve their compensation.”

          • Private sector produces wealth, Government takes money from private sector and will throw you in jail if you don’t pay your taxes. 

            Public unions use money that was taken by law from person who produced it and give to their own people.  There is no negotiations between sectors, unions distribute coerced money. 

            Unions only care about their own selfish needs, no thought to wider society. I would be delighted, as would Mr Cogswell, if there was actual negotiations between sectors because bureaucracy would be much smaller and less well paid.

            Mr Cogswell is not working twice as hard by choice, he is forced to by law.

            “For me to make that amount of money, I would have to work twice as much time,” tradesman Tim Cogswell told CTV News.

            But civil servant Shannon Steele said she earns her pay.

            “Of course I get more benefits and stuff, but I think I deserve them,” she said. “I do a lot of work, and it’s stressful.

          • If workers in one sector are being more effective at bargaining than their fellows in another sector, perhaps the workers in that other sector should ask “what are they doing that we can emulate?” rather than crying “they don’t deserve their compensation.”

    • Take on the unions eh?

      Tell you what Tony, you can pry my right to collective representation (when negotiating with the most powerful institution in the country no less) from my COLD DEAD HANDS.

      Stripping people of the right to negotiate collectively against behemoth corporations and institutions is a sure path back to classism.

      It’s bad enough as it is.

    • “I don’t think they have any idea what they’re doing.”
      I think they do: a police state in the making.

  2. Can someone please explain to me what indicators are being used to determine that more should be spent on border security and jails while reducing domestic public safety budgets?

    All the indicators I’ve seen suggest we need to do the opposite.

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