TORONTO – Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are going to fund their election promises by cutting the federal public service and the services Canadians rely on, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said today.
“Canadians have every reason to believe the Conservatives will fill the $11-billion hole in their platform by slashing the public service,” said Mr. Ignatieff. “A Liberal government will not eliminate the Harper deficit on the backs of the public service.”
On the same day that Mr. Baird tried to convince Canadians his party won’t slash programs and services offered through the public service, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said an “aggressive” review of the public service is long overdue.
He said: “There’s just more and more public servants, more and more programs and initiatives. We haven’t looked at [spending] in 15 years in the largest organization in the country, which is the federal government.” (CBC.ca, April 9)
Mr. Ignatieff said this is just patently false. Over the last five years, Stephen Harper has already cut $3.3 billion from the federal public service, impacting the programs and services offered to Canadians – while spending more on Conservative political staff.
“While Mr. Harper cuts programs for Canadians, he has wasted billions of tax dollars on promotional advertising, partisan polling, outside consultants, padding PMO and Ministers’ office budgets, and fattening the paycheques of Conservative political staffers by tens of thousands of dollars above treasury board guidelines – in at least one case to as much as $190,000.”
During this campaign, the Conservatives quietly approved further increases in the maximum salaries of political staffers, and gave them a 50% increase in maximum separation pay.
“The bottom line is, you just can’t trust the Conservatives. While Stephen Harper takes care of his own, he’ll leave the public service – and Canadians who depend on the programs and services they offer – in the dust,” he said.
“As for Mr. Layton, we already know that the NDP platform is nothing more than a wishlist without credible costing to back it up.”
The Liberal Party has a strong record of respect for Canada’s public service, and our MPs have worked closely with them in the important work they do for Canadians. The Liberal Platform is committed to excellence in the public service – as our fully-costed plan outlines.
“We will cut Conservative partisan spending – like politicized advertising, polling and consultants – instead of cutting the valuable programs and services Canadians deserve. We will work with the public service – not against them – to help them continue the work of providing quality public services,” said Mr. Ignatieff.