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Civil Servants: Another Point of View

Written back in 2012, when Stephen Harper was Prime Minister. There was a feeling that the government needed to cut spending. In the end, big cuts did not happen. The Federal Government is too large, but no party wants to make those cuts.

I have in the past used information from the Canadian TaxPayers Federation, so I feel it would be remiss of me if I didn’t include their latest YouTube video as part of my I am a Civil Servant, set of writings.

The points made by the Taxpayers Federation are valid and interesting. However, there is an implication that Government Employees are all overpaid, etc., in the delivery of the message. Yes, they don’t say it, but I am reading between the lines. The e-mail that pointed  to the clip did include the following paragraph (which does make the point a lot clearer that Civil Servants are all RICH or will be with their pensions):

After all, you, along with every other Canadian, owe about $6,776 and count in additional taxes to pay for the rich federal government employee pension plan. That’s, of course, on top of our national debt. Federal bureaucrat pension plans are short $227 billion due to the rich, unsustainable payouts negotiated.

Blaming Civil Servants for having a generous pension is interesting, so PSAC should have negotiated a crappier set of benefits?!? Also, another reason the pension fund is short is due to the Federal Government raiding the fund in the 90’s and bad investments. This is a problem all pension plans are now suffering through.

I believe the TaxPayers Federation will get their wish somewhat when the new Government budget comes down. The Government will explain how much money will be spent this year on severance packages for the LARGE cut back in the Civil Service. This will not be scalpel cuts, this will be Chain Saw hacking, similar to the early ’90s.

Wonder what the Federation is going to say about the severance packages given to the Civil Servants? I guess that remains to be seen.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. ” Prime Minister Stephen Harper quietly hired private consultants in late summer to advise his government on how to cut $4 billion. It’s unlikely taxpayers will ever know whether the $19.8 million contract to Deloitte was worth the price..”

    ” All three levels of government have highly trained public servants who are paid to provide well-researched, impartial financial advice. Yet all three have turned to outsiders”

    19.8 Million dollars!–outsourcing-the-new-way-to-balance-government-budgets-in-canada

  2. I worked in civic government for awhile in my second internship and it was great, but I didn’t get any of the benefits that real, full time employees did. But the unions negotiate for all of those things that civil servants enjoy – I think it’s fine. nobody would want to work in civic government if there wasn’t a benefit like that.

  3. Wow, what a heroic Canadian in that video. Does his employer, the Taxpayers Federation, pay taxes on their income as a non-profit? He rips on the gains of workers earned by collective bargaining but probably enjoys his weekends. Who got us two-day weekends and the eight hour work day? YEAH UNIONS ARE EVIL.

    This jerk has a typical scabber’s attitude — enjoy the spoils of hard fought unionist battles while not paying union dues. Enjoying the benefits he didn’t pay for and spitting in the face of the people who earned him those benefits — sounds a lot like the welfare bums that he decries, doesn’t he?

    Why doesn’t the Canadian TaxPayers Federation present HONEST statistics? Why aren’t they comparing unionized, degree-holding employees in the private and public sectors? Instead, they present the median government employee (degree-holding and in a union) with the modern median non-government employee. Oh, right, those stats wouldn’t present the same horrific narrative that the Canadian TaxPayers Federation wants to imagineer. I mean, mentioning pensions but ignoring the fact that gov’t employees usually contribute half of the contributions (the other half coming from their negotiated compensation package)?

    No wonder the joke Poli Sci grads at the Cdn TaxPayer’s Federation couldn’t get a gov’t job after graduating. They’re not even GOOD at using statistics to lie.

    Ever wonder why Canada has one of the least corrupt public services out of any country? For proof, check out Transparency International. Good pay is part of the equation; another key component is education and an ethic of integrity.

    Awesome idea: fire all the civil servants and replace them with Realtors and Tim Horton’s employees. Then the Government employees could collect real welfare while stooges run the country into the ground.

  4. @bigcajunman Doesn’t everybody vote? 🙂 It really comes down to if its a fair deal between PSAC and the tax payers. If it’s not fair it won’t be sustainable and will change over time. Greedy in the short term is risky in the long term. Leads to majority Conservative governments with a mandate to stand up to unions.

    @Jacqui583 Providing a loan when nobody else will is still a bailout, repaid or not. And it wasn’t just loans. For every dollar loaned to Chrysler and GM Canadian tax payers coughed up another $6 for equity in these auto makers (Canada gave GM $1.4 billion as a pure loan, and another $8.1 billion for an 11.7% equity stake). 11.7% of GM is less than $5 billion, it is far from certain that tax payers will ever get their money back.

    Chrysler and GM needed bail outs because they couldn’t make good cars at a reasonable price; other auto makers didn’t need bail outs. Part of the problem was labor costs. The other part was poor management that thought the labor deals were affordable- just keep selling Jeeps and Hummers for people to drive to work alone. They are the most profitable after all and gas is cheap.

    1. A mandate to stand up to Unions? Hmmm… now that is almost Tory rhetoric I am hearing, there will be no political stumping here! 🙂

      Greedy? Labour is always greedy and Management are always skin flints, the only way to tell if a deal is sustainable is time unfortunately. I can tell you the deals made in the mid-90’s and early 2000’s are now biting us in the butt (but then again, so is the whole sale hiring that the Tories did under various guises too (and Liberals too)).

      Either way, no one (not even me) can tell you whether the coming deal between the government and PSAC will be sustainable (but they will be able to in 10 years).

  5. It must be difficult for government workers to keep from taking criticisms of government personally. While I believe that there are problems, I don’t blame individual civil servants. You can’t blame people who take a job when they are offered a good deal. I also don’t think that all government workers are overpaid (a minority are worth what they are paid). Once again, I don’t blame anyone for taking a good deal when they see it. We need our government to stop offering such great deals; the taxpayers can’t afford it. I’m less interested in finding someone to blame than in trying to fix the problem. Many people think the solution is to lower pay. I don’t think this is right. The real answer is to get rid of people who don’t do their jobs well. This is needed for teachers as well. However, unions would never support the idea of firing the incompetent.

  6. Chrysler and GM’s bankruptcies and subsequent government loans (not bailouts – they were loans with interest that have since been repaid) were a result of the financial meltdown brought on by the sub prime mortgage fiasco, not because they had bargained themselves into bankruptcy. Unfortunately the world has taken on a “blame the worker” mindset where the solutions to the financial crisis are being placed entirely on the backs of workers who did not cause the problem in the first place.

  7. Yes, but Chrysler couldn’t afford it, they went bankrupt and taxpayers bailed them out. Now if PSAC negotiates an unsustainable deal with the tax payers, well, look to Greece to see where that can go.

    1. So, PSAC negotiates a deal for their membership which proves to be “unsustainable”, and it is completely their fault? If you didn’t vote, you are out of the next equation, but if you voted for the party that negotiated this agreement, you have no fault at all? Just askin.

  8. So rather than focusing on bringing up the level of compensation for private sector workers, where many employers have taken advantage of the political climate to decimate compensation packages beyond any “real” need, the solution is to blame those that have been able to bargain a good package.

    Two points. First, the pension packages are bargained deferred wages. In other words, rather than bargaining for x + y wages, the y portion is put aside into a pension plan rather than included as part of a salary or hourly wage. Second, the collective bargaining that secured those wages and pensions did not happen as a one-sided event. The employer, in this case the government, certainly has a voice in what gets bargained. I think it was Yves Landry, president of Chrysler Canada at the time (’99 maybe?), who after a round of bargaining where the workers made substantial gains, said “if we couldn’t afford it we wouldn’t have signed it”.

  9. Its really interesting. Growing government pay and pension will affect our life. About the civil servants i dnt have idea. But i think the increase pension or pay will not get tally when the government tax get increase. Its my thought.

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