Federal cuts could be 'catastrophic,' union says


Goober
#1
Federal cuts could be 'catastrophic,' union says
Public Works, Foreign Affairs, Defence asked to cut more, more quickly

The federal government is accelerating and deepening its plans to eliminate the deficit despite slow growth projections and a lacklustre job market.

Several major government departments have been asked to come up with a plan to cut spending by 10 per cent over the next two fiscal years — that is, by the end of 2013-14 — CBC News has learned.

That's a change from last year's budget, in which the government promised to find savings of five per cent in annual program spending by the end of 2014-15.

To achieve that, the government had originally asked all federal departments to find between five and 10 per cent worth of savings over three years.

Now senior government sources say the overall cut to program spending at the three-year mark will be higher: about 7.5 per cent of current spending levels.

Several major departments have been asked to participate in the accelerated cuts, including Public Works, National Defence, Foreign Affairs and CSIS.

Deputy ministers told to cut faster
Just before Christmas, the Conservative government's special Treasury Board sub-committee that was overseeing the cuts concluded its consultations with senior bureaucrats.

Sources say that during those consultations, Treasury Board President Tony Clement pulled some deputy ministers aside and told them they had to go further. They learned their departments were expected to find cuts of 10 per cent over two years.

Canada's largest public service union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, says Canadians should be worried.

President John Gordon says the original plan to cut five per cent over three years would have badly harmed services. He says going any deeper or faster could be catastrophic.

"That's going to be devastating to the services that are provided," he said.

Gordon pointed to ways in which Canadians are already feeling the loss of services — from long delays for Employment Insurance cheques to the loss of search and rescue services based in Newfoundland.

He says more severe cuts will make for an even grimmer outlook.

"All of those things are there. We've asked the question but we can't get answers. Nobody will speak about it. All they keep [saying] is, we'll hear when the budget comes out. Well that worries me," Gordon said.

He's heard many rumours that the government's target for the cuts has been getting larger. But because the consultations have all been behind closed doors, his union is unclear what the result will be.

Politically, the government may be trying to accelerate the worst of the cuts in order to give itself more than a year between the end of the cuts and the next federal election, slated for fall 2015.

That revised schedule would give the Conservatives some time to do damage control.
 
Cannuck
#2
About 70% of federal spending is in transfers. That is where the government should focus.
 
In Between Man
+4
#3  Top Rated Post
When unions raise concerns over spending cuts it means we are on the right track. You don't spend your way out of economic turmoil, you spend less and only buy the necessities.
 
taxslave
+2
#4
Catastrophic for who, Government union coffers or taxpayers?
 
Goober
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslaveView Post

Catastrophic for who, Government union coffers or taxpayers?

The Fed Civil Service was expanded un Harper at a faster rate than the last years of the Liberals.

Corporate welfare -
To many departments serving the same population - From what I recall 17 different Dept's have programs for First Nations. leads to overlap, waste and so on.
 
taxslave
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by GooberView Post

The Fed Civil Service was expanded un Harper at a faster rate than the last years of the Liberals.

Corporate welfare -
To many departments serving the same population - From what I recall 17 different Dept's have programs for First Nations. leads to overlap, waste and so on.

ANd that is only with the feds. Most provinces have competing ministries.
 
Goober
+1
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslaveView Post

ANd that is only with the feds. Most provinces have competing ministries.

Govt Dept's have to be reorged. Focus and mission defined. Dep Ministers and their Joe Boys and Ministers given hard targets to meet.
Dep Minsters failing to meet the goals are not getting their bonuses/turfed.
 
TenPenny
#8
I would like every civil servant to have to answer 2 questions:

1. What does my department do for the taxpayers
2. What do I do to further the goal listed in 1.
 
taxslave
+1
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

I would like every civil servant to have to answer 2 questions:

1. What does my department do for the taxpayers
2. What do I do to further the goal listed in 1.

The vat majority would be forced to answer
1 none
2 none

Getting rid of the deadwood would be hard on union coffers alright.
 
gerryh
#10
2,822,293 abortions between '69 and '05. If we had been charging the Doc's a lousy 20 bucks a pop for the privilege, the gov would be 56.4 million richer. It's an untapped revenue stream that shows no sign of drying up.
 
taxslave
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by gerryhView Post

2,822,293 abortions between '69 and '05. If we had been charging the Doc's a lousy 20 bucks a pop for the privilege, the gov would be 56.4 million richer. It's an untapped revenue stream that shows no sign of drying up.

If religious cults would be forced to pay both income and property taxes we would be billions ahead.
 
Dexter Sinister
#12
Have any of you who are trashing the public service actually ever worked there, have you any idea what the work load is really like or what the attitudes of those people are? I spent ten years on and off in the federal public service and I think there there's a lot of bitching in a vacuum going on here.
 
damngrumpy
+2
#13
I have family members who work or worked in the Federal Service and I see the ebb and flow.
Governments take these tasks on and cut to meet promises they had no business making in
the first place. The problem is, the Services by and large are not over staffed and when the
cuts come, people cheer until there is no service.
EI for example, this is important, they cut the employees and now they find out they can't
get the job done. It can now take nearly three months for someone to get any money. There
are all kinds of problems associated with taking the actions they have embarked on. One
the people on the front line are the ones that get cut, many in administration, or the new bees
don't have the knowledge of day to day operations and once they get months behind they never
catch up.

I also like the idea of churches and other groups paying their share of taxes. I think there has to
be some exceptions though in how it is structured. Churches for example should be allowed to
deduct for actual services, providing shelter, food, clothing and welfare requirements. They should
pay taxes on buildings and collections made, as it is income from the Jesus business.
In addition any products or services, that provide income should be taxed like any other business.

Wholesale cutting in a feeding frenzy is as bad as hiring for the sake of hiring, there is often no
rational plan, it becomes about cutting, and that means cutting services as well without consideration
of the problems that will result. Often times , Governments make these cuts and in the long run
they end up paying out more than if they left things alone.
 
TenPenny
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by Dexter SinisterView Post

Have any of you who are trashing the public service actually ever worked there, have you any idea what the work load is really like or what the attitudes of those people are? I spent ten years on and off in the federal public service and I think there there's a lot of bitching in a vacuum going on here.

So let us know - what did your department do for the taxpayers, and what role did you specifically do to further that goal?
 
SLM
+4
#15
The basic fact of the matter is that everyone always thinks cutbacks are a great idea.

Unless the cuts affect them.
 
Machjo
+1
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by In Between ManView Post

When unions raise concerns over spending cuts it means we are on the right track. You don't spend your way out of economic turmoil, you spend less and only buy the necessities.

Not necessarily. Sometimes there is a case for increased government spending, but when there is debt it is preferable to raise taxes, reduce spending, lower the Bank rate, and pay off the debt on printed money if necessary to counter any deflationary spiral with the intent of raking that money back in as soon as deflation ends.

And even if we were not in debt, any spending ought to be a targeted investment and not a make-work job.

Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

The basic fact of the matter is that everyone always thinks cutbacks are a great idea.

Unless the cuts affect them.

Of course cutting spending is good in principle, but you are right that necessary spending ought never to be cut, likewise with proper social investments.
 
TenPenny
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by MachjoView Post

Of course cutting spending is good in principle, but you are right that necessary spending ought never to be cut, likewise with proper social investments.

It's the 'proper' and 'necessary' terms that are the problem.
 
Goober
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

It's the 'proper' and 'necessary' terms that are the problem.

I think anyone that gave it some reasonable thought knew that pension ages would rise for CPP - higher penalties - OAS.


Canadian MP pensions on chopping block: John Ivison | Full Comment | National Post

Members of Parliament are likely to see the generous terms of their gold-plated pensions significantly eroded as part of the Harper government’s deficit reduction budget this spring.

Stephen Harper had hinted in an interview last week that part of the strategy to reduce the deficit will include changes to programs that are likely to see ballooning costs as the number of retirees increases, such as public service pensions and Old Age Security. “We’ve got to make sure that we have, with an ageing population, a series of programs that are sustainable over the long-term,” he said.

As the National Post has written, the government is considering moves that could phase out lucrative defined benefit pension schemes for new hires in the public service and raise the age at which Canadians qualify for OAS from 65 to 67.
 
Machjo
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

It's the 'proper' and 'necessary' terms that are the problem.

Agreed. There are plenty of things I'd like the government to cut on the grounds that I consider them neither necessary nor particularly wise investments. unfortunately, most Canadians disagree so I'm stuck with the bill. I know the feeling. Honestly, I would guess that when most Canadians complain about taxes being too high, it's not so much that they don't realise that taxes are a necessary part of civilization or that they're not willing to make their contribution to society, but rather it's a criticism of how that money is spent.

One possible way to make taxes go where we want them to would be to make income taxes 100% charity deductible on a 1-1 ratio. That would still lead non-income revenue sources of course, but at least we'd have more of a say when it comes to income tax.

i can guarantee if you do that though the federal government would simply scrap income tax and raise all other taxes. After all, the issue is not to ensure we make our fair contribution to our community, but rather for politicians to get their grubby hands on it.

Now of course if we were to make income taxes 100% tax deductible on a 1-1 basis, I'd then also support the federal government to cut funding to charities altogether (though granted it would probably have to anyway).
 
taxslave
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by Dexter SinisterView Post

Have any of you who are trashing the public service actually ever worked there, have you any idea what the work load is really like or what the attitudes of those people are? I spent ten years on and off in the federal public service and I think there there's a lot of bitching in a vacuum going on here.

I have. Worked for DND. The waste is incredible. Worst part is that the government workers actually think that they are doing a good job.
 
Machjo
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslaveView Post

I have. Worked for DND. The waste is incredible. Worst part is that the government workers actually think that they are doing a good job.

I've seen the same at DND. However, sounds like my crowd was smarter than yours in that they knew there was much waste, but since they were not decision-makers, they could only follow orders even when they could think of all kinds or more efficient ways to do their work. Some would even give advice but of course supervisors would come back to them with all kinds of lame reasons thigs had to be done in the less efficient way.
 
lone wolf
#22
When Unions cry about catastrophe it usually means the pocket mine will shrink when public sector workers contract out.
 
L Gilbert
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by GooberView Post

Federal cuts could be 'catastrophic,' union says
Public Works, Foreign Affairs, Defence asked to cut more, more quickly

The federal government is accelerating and deepening its plans to eliminate the deficit despite slow growth projections and a lacklustre job market.

Several major government departments have been asked to come up with a plan to cut spending by 10 per cent over the next two fiscal years — that is, by the end of 2013-14 — CBC News has learned. <etc.>

I don't mind the gov't wanting to make cuts as long as the cuts make sense. Not sure about where all our gov't spends money but I'm pretty sure there are redundant and overlapping programs infused in damned near every area of gov't. What I think will happen is a whole pile of layoffs but the redundancies and overlapping will still be there, so the unions may have an argument. But, that argument is everyone's, not just unions' argument.
 
Goober
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by L GilbertView Post

I don't mind the gov't wanting to make cuts as long as the cuts make sense. Not sure about where all our gov't spends money but I'm pretty sure there are redundant and overlapping programs infused in damned near every area of gov't. What I think will happen is a whole pile of layoffs but the redundancies and overlapping will still be there, so the unions may have an argument. But, that argument is everyone's, not just unions' argument.

Ottawa not taking a one-scythe-fits-all approach to 2012 budget - The Globe and Mail

The Conservative government’s 2012 budget will mean deep cuts for some departments while others will get off more lightly as Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says he wants to protect the direct delivery of services to Canadians.

For the first time, Mr. Flaherty said some departments could shrink more than 10 per cent as ministers work their way through a mountain of proposed spending cuts prepared by officials.
 
captain morgan
#25
Too many departments ran for too many years on the premise that if they didn't spend the entire budget; they wouldn't get funded to the same level next time.

Sounds like the party is over.
 
SLM
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

Too many departments ran for too many years on the premise that if they didn't spend the entire budget; they wouldn't get funded to the same level next time.

Sounds like the party is over.

Don't kid yourself. That is deeply ingrained. Doesn't matter what the budget actually is,higher or lower, that will be the way things are done.
 
lone wolf
#27
On a provincial scale, MTO will only purchase salt based on the previous year's outlay - so you either get saltshakers seasoning dry roads or you run out next year if it's a snowy one.
 
GreenFish66
#28
Gotta Cut ...Cut..Cut...Say Harp.Rep./Ref./Cons.....Yet, Oil Money Will fund Social Programs....Hmmmm...Really?....

.......Sorry to cut in .....You's were sayin'
 

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