Thursday, September 13, 2018

Blame game continues in provincial politics

When in doubt blame members of the public service.
For far too long, whenever Liberal and Progressive Conservative governments want to make cuts or avoid responsibility for past poor decisions, they blame the hard-working men and women of our province.
The recent release of the Progressive Conservative party of NB platform provided the latest example of this way of thinking.
In the ‘Growing Our Economy’ portion of the platform under the heading managing growth in government:
• Savings will be realized through attrition and by identifying and eliminating government waste.
• No one will lose their job.
Let’s dive into these statements. Attrition means workers will retire and not be replaced, thus reducing the size of the workforce. At a press conference, PC leader Blaine Higgs said about 2,000 government workers are set to retire over the next four years and of those 2,000, 600 positions would be phased out over the same time frame.
So while technically no one will lose their job, New Brunswickers will suffer as 600 jobs will be lost which will have a significant impact on the services provided by government. Where will the cuts be made? Higgs stated it would only happen in government departments, which means no teachers or nurses.
Let’s be clear, there’s no way this won’t have a significant impact on services provided by government. Exactly where the impact will be felt, well we’re not sure because either Higgs doesn’t know where the cuts will be made or simply isn’t saying. It also means 600 fewer New Brunswickers with good paying jobs to reinvest in their communities.
This will just continue the position both Liberals and PC use that government is too big and public sector workers are to blame for the woes of our province. This absolves them from having to take responsibility for some of their poor decisions over the years that cost millions of taxpayer dollars.
This is also how governments justify privatizing services which usually leads to poor outcomes for NB taxpayers. This means the work of 600 will be absorbed by those who remain resulting in larger workloads and stress. Governments cut to the bone, services suffer and then they can point at the service and say we need to privatize it in order to save it.
This isn’t new a way of doing politics, but rather a tried and true method of shifting blame.
When in doubt, blame the hardworking people of our province. Both the Liberals and PC have been guilty of this for years and as we inch closer to the election, it doesn’t appear it will change.