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May 04, 2021

Should Harper make public service cuts, as planned?

Today, with taxes the way they are, it’s nearly impossible to defend public services in Canada.

Istockphoto_8595689-financial-belt-tightening Everyone wants their parks, swimming pools and community ice rinks, but we don’t want to pay for them, especially when there’s a nagging perception that anything government-run is a cash-haemorrhaging waste.

But no matter: Stephen Harper and his Conservatives have their majority government now, and they’ve made it clear public department cuts are a priority. Should they go ahead with them, though?

Harper, as you know (or maybe you don’t; only 61 per cent of us voted Monday), proposed overhauling government service spending in his March budget, the agenda that never passed ahead of this latest federal election.

In the budget, a review of all public level spending was called for, with $11 billion in cuts recommended over the next four years. Two months ago, Jack Layton and the now-humbled Michael Ignatieff and Gilles Duceppe did not allow the provision to pass.

Yet, as Ignatieff and Duceppe have gone the way of Michael and Carole Middleton’s dignity, the Tories now have the power to push through their proposed rollbacks.

Back to that first point above, about government-run departments perhaps not being the most efficient mechanisms. This is undoubtedly the perception of public workers; it may not be right, it may not be fair, but it’s definitely true.

Though is it to the point that cuts, even layoffs, need to be made? Government work – and, I’m sure, many employees of such sectors would concede this – may not be as streamlined as some private companies, but nobody wants to see anyone losing their job.

Of the following, what should Stephen Harper do re: public service budget cuts – reduce/freeze salaries, eliminate positions or reverse the planned cuts altogether?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money

*Follow Jason on Twitter here.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...