Monday, 28 September 2015

The Liberal Party and the Public Service: A History Lesson

Today Justin Trudeau published an open letter to public servants attempting to convince them what a friend they have in the Liberal Party.  I can only assume that Mr. Trudeau is hoping that public servants have forgotten or are ignorant of the Liberals track record.

In the not so distant past (at least in historical terms) there was a wildly unpopular Conservative government that used legislation to impose its will on public servants and by-pass collective bargaining (sound familiar).  And then there was an election, the Liberals swept to power and all the public servants lived happily ever after...  Not so much.

The year was 1993 and the Liberals social welfare platform contributed strongly to its victory.  But once in power, the Liberal government reneged on most of  its election promises and turned on its own employees, by not only sacrificing their collective bargaining rights it ignored pay equity legislation and eliminated five times as many jobs as the Conservative government they replaced.

Given how many times Mr. Trudeau has flip-flopped on his positions during this campaign these sentiments, on his commitment to Canada's public servants are best taken with a grain of salt and maybe a shot of tequila.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Denying Women Canadian Citizenship Does Nothing to Fight Opression

Are Stephen Harper and the Conservatives actually trying to argue that denying a woman citizenship for wearing the niqab is somehow promoting equal rights?  It would seem to me that by denying a woman citizenship, the government is actually contributing to oppression rather than fighting it. 

Ironically, many of the same people that are so offended by the niqab are the same people that are also offended by topless women sunbathing on the beach.  One thing it would seem that all cultures and societies have in common is that to varying degrees they all feel justified in imposing a standard of modesty on women.  If a woman breaks the established standard she may subjected to harassment and potentially physical assault.  One only has to look at how often what a woman was wearing is discussed in sexual assault trials to find evidence of this.

If Mr. Harper wants to challenge the oppression of women, he should re-establish funding to Status of Women Canada rather than stand in judgment on women wearing a niqab.

Mulcair, Harper spar over niqab controversy at leaders' debate

Tories cut off funding to women's lobby groups

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The Buy Now Pay Later Approach to Public Policy

As Canadians we are used to personal debt.  Debt has become the new normal.  So when Justin Trudeau says that his government plans to spend more than what it will bring in, the statement just breezes by us with little reaction.  And when Stephen Harper says he has a billion dollar surplus because the money wasn't spent on the Veteran's to which it was allocated we collectively shrug our shoulders and go about our day.

Contrary to what the Liberal leader has been saying government debt is he enemy of social progress.  When programs are created and funded through borrowed money they are the first things on the chopping block when the inevitable austerity measures kick-in.

 When the government budgeted the money to be spent on veteran's it became their responsibility to do so as soon as the budget passed.  A budget surplus (spending shortfall) as big as the one for veteran's services can only mean the the government failed to meet its obligations and breached public trust.  So, regardless of what  the Conservatives  would like us to believe, a budgetary surplus created by refusing to spend allocated program money is not a good thing is it is fraud and creates a different type of deficit, a social one, that must be paid eventually.

Setting budgets and balancing them (spending the money allocated to the programs) are essential for truly sustainable social programs.