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public service

So, uh, the President of TB…

… doesn’t have anything better to do than to declare war on Santa-haters?

Really, Uncle Tony? Really?

The Government of Canada has no guidelines that restrict federal employees from putting up Christmas or other holiday decorations in their workspace.

“There are those who would like to snuff out the holiday spirit in the name of political correctness or expediency,” said Minister Clement. “Our Government will not allow the Christmas spirit to be grinched.”

We Canucks are a pretty tolerant sort and even for those of us who don’t really care for Christmas and the like, the vast, vast majority are not going to rail on someone who wants to put up some tinsel, or hang a ball on their nameplate.

Is it really necessary for the GoC to issue a declaration in support of the holiday? Seriously? Surely this was done tongue-in-cheek.


Friday miscellany…

… shooters and omnibus bill edition…


You might remember a post I scribbled a little while back about a “new” shooter that is perfect for O-Town right now, given all of the lay-offs and transitions…

Well, CBC Ottawa got a hold of this and, well, it kind of led to my bud who came up with the idea being interviewed on CBC Ottawa’s All in a Day.



So, the Harpernerds are out to neuter Parliament yet again with another one of their Omnibus bills!

The so-called Budget Implementation Act (Bill C-38) does a WHOLE LOT MORE than simply put the measures into place to make the Budget “happen”.

As Elizabeth May puts it:

Most of Bill C-38 has nothing to do with fiscal matters or what a budget is supposed to do.  Instead, it attacks environmental legislation, amending the Environmental Assessment Act, the Fisheries Act, the Species at Risk Act, and repealing the Kyoto Implementation Act, along with cancelling the National Round Table on Environment and Economy.

And why not debate these other – and clearly not Budget-related – issues separately?

Simple – the CPC regards Parliament as a nuisance… an obstacle that must be worked around.

Shameful, but predictable.


“Morguelike” is perhaps the best word to accurately describe the mood in the public service cube land these days.

The cuts to the PS are indeed deep and broad. Families are being hurt. Stress is causing health issues. This is not good.

Whether the cuts were needed at this time or not is debatable (I don’t think they were required to this extent), but they are indeed happening.

But I, like others I have spoken with who are NOT originally from the Ottawa Valley, have a bit of a different perspective on the job losses. Many have had jobs and careers before the Public Service and have experienced job losses or changes in the past. This is normal for most people who don’t hail from these parts. It is a part of life.

Yet not so normal to any great extent to those folks who grew up here, whose parents and grandparents worked for the PS. They have not gone through the life-changing job-related gut wrenches that are pretty much common outside the NCR. es, there was Program Review under Martin, but those who went through that period and this one tell me that the cuts of the 90’s were not as broad and deep as these ones. I don’t know if the numbers bear that out, but that is the impression.

So while these changes are tough on everyone, those who grew up here and have come to expect some measure of stability in their job lives; well, those are the ones hurting the most right now. Their world has been turned literally upside down.

Just an observation.


Had lunch at the Mill Street Brew Pub yesterday. I highly recommend it!


Hey! Rush is in town! Why didn’t they call????


Does anyone really think these stickers are cool? Really?


Finally, a huge Trashy congrats to my bro’ and sis in-laws (and my nephew and niece too) on welcoming a new oenophile to the flock! I can’t wait to meet her!


Of COURSE the CPC won’t…

… tear up PS Collective Agreements! Not a chance! “tearing up” is so gauche. So unimaginative, so 19th century!

Famous for being a very detail-oriented little party, the ReformCons have assembled a handbook for party operatives outlining what exactly should happen to those pesky Agreements while avoiding that whole tearing-up thing.

And this intrepid blogger has obtained a copy of this handbook, excerpts of which are published below.


March 2012

To:  all Conservative Party of Canada riding operatives.

From: Thought Crimes and Socialist Schemes Prevention Secretariat

Re: Disposal of Collective Bargaining Agreements

This handbook is intended to guide dictate to Party operatives in the approved methods of Public Service Collective Bargaining Agreements. It is NOT to be distributed outside party offices and care MUST be taken to not allow this handbook or parts contained therein to fall into the hands of those who would see us defeated (may they burn in Hell!).

Tearing up is an imperfect method of disposal. To ensure that ALL negotiated rights and provisions negotiated through collective bargaining are completely destroyed, the following methods are encouraged.

1) Fire. It is quick and efficient and should be the first choice for any CPC Agreement Destroying Operative (ADO). Care much be taken to obtain the necessary local burning permits which are available at the nearest municipal office or fire station. Also, one should be wary of environmental terrorists who might claim that dangerous chemicals are being released into the atmosphere – which is, of course, ridiculous.

2) Shredding. Much more efficient than tearing. The difficulty with shredding is that only the heaviest industrial shredders are capable of destroying the hundreds of thousands of copies of the thick tomes. This machinery is owned and operated mostly by private sector firms. Contracting to these firms is acceptable provided contracts are negotiated surreptitiously. In addition, kick backs and the granting of tax breaks may be needed. These are also acceptable.

3) Heavy equipment. While the use of bulldozers and other tracked equipment is not optimal, it is acceptable, just because it’s so darned much fun.

4) Finally, nuclear obliteration of Collective Agreements. This method is currently not available in Canada (Commie lefties think it’s unsafe!), but this may change if Gov. Santorum is elected President of the USA. Needless to say, all CPC members should pray for this.

We hope you find this guidance helpful. Please contact the Secretariat for further information.

In the Name of Our Leader, the Thought Crimes and Socialist Schemes Prevention Secretariat.


Do the banks know something that the rest of us do not?

Seen yesterday at the BMO branch at the corner of Smyth and Russell.



Canadians OK with ReformCons fighting their deficit on the back of the PS

Of course Canadians back public sector cuts!! No big surprise there!

According to a new poll done by Nanos Research, Canadians feel that the government was correct in making the PS should the burden of the Conservative-created deficit.

“The default position for a lot of Canadians is to believe that there is always fat that can be trimmed in the public service,” says Nik Nanos, author of the new Nanos-Policy Options poll. “It shows that [the public service] is the easiest target. … [Canadians are saying] we would like others to shoulder the burden for managing the deficit as opposed to taking it on individually.”

While I normally don’t agree a lot with what PSAC says, it’s President, John Gordon is correct in saying:

“Every time the government gets into [trouble] they kind of ramp up the rhetoric and the Canadian public starts to believe them …” he said.

In general terms, he added, his members’ wages run behind those in comparable positions in the private sector.

His workers are an easy target, he said, because the government fails to explain what it means to get rid of public servants – that services provided to the public would be affected.

The problem, according to Mr. Gordon – and I agree – is that the average Canadian really isn’t too clear on what services we in the PS provide. It is easy to see what local governments do. Solid waste management, emergency services, road maintenance, etc. are easily identifiable as the responsibility of the municipal level of government. Even some Provincial services are easy to see: Provincial parks, Provincial police, many day to day approvals, car licensing – all are under the purview to one extent or another of the Provincial government (it does vary from Province to Province).

For example, Mr. Gordon points to the work done by federal public servants during the H1N1 crisis to get vaccines in place and deal with the pandemic.

“It’s easy to broad brush it and say they should be freezing wages, which they have already done and cutting public services, which they are already doing. …” he said, but added that the public has to ask itself what services it would like to see gone.

In truth, it is hard for the average Canuck to see how much we contribute. Yeah, with PS cutbacks come tax refund delays, long border line-ups, passport delays, drug research and approval delays, and a plethora of other services as well would feel the impact. But one of the bureaucracy’s biggest roles is to provide operational, research and logistical support to the government of Canada and its polices.  And we do this well and efficiently regardless of the party in power.

Yet, this is background and grunt work that we do. Often out of the public eye and seldom recognised by our political masters. But we chose our vocations and living with a target on our backs during times of fiscal restraint is just one of those things we have to accept.


Public service efficiency

The Harperites, under the guidance of the dry-suit guy, is gong to “unveil” (1) a plan to increase “the efficiency of the federal departments”.

Mr. Day is scheduled today to unveil a government initiative aimed at increasing the efficiency of the federal departments – which manage activities ranging from the war in Afghanistan and relief in Haiti, to income-tax collection, employment insurance and old-age security claims.

Huh, I didn’t realise we were inefficient? Haven’t all of the efficiency programs that we have been subjected to almost each and every year counted for anything or resulted in these cherished “efficiencies”?

Are we still that inefficient? After Blue Ribbon Panels? Streamlining? Corporate Business Architecture?

Man, we in the PS MUST be sooooooo incompetent! You’d think that we would by now be the smoothest and most efficient public service in the freakin’ GALAXY!

And so iut begins – Day has announced the first round of cuts by reducing the number of Governor in Council appointments by 245.

It is interesting to see where these cuts have been made.

Yes, they are patronage appointments and yes, many of these seats were already vacant, but I think this spells out the shape of things to come..

                                                            March 8, 2010

                 Reduction of Governor in Council Positions

                                                          number         GiC
    Department/                                           of GiC   positions
    Agency              Organization                   positions     reduced
    Agriculture and     Canadian Grain Commission              9           6
     Agri-Food Canada   -----------------------------------------------------
                        National Farm Products Council         9           2
    Canadian Heritage   Canadian Council on the Status
                         of the Artist                        12          12
                        Canadian Radio-television and
                         Telecommunications Commission        19           6
    Citizenship and     Canadian Race Relations Foundation
     Immigration Canada  and Investment Committee             24          11
    Environment Canada  Historic Sites and Monuments
                         Board of Canada                      15           2
                        National Round Table on the
                         Environment and the Economy          26           8
    Department of       Canada Development Investment
     Finance Canada      Corporation                          20           9
                        Canadian International Trade
                         Tribunal                              9           2
    Fisheries and       Freshwater Fish Marketing
     Oceans Canada       Corporation - Advisory Committee     15          15
    Foreign Affairs     Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada      7           2
                        International Boundary Commission      1           1
                        International Development Research
                         Centre                               21           3
                        Roosevelt Campobello International
                         Park Commission                       3           1
    Health Canada       Assisted Human Reproduction Agency
                         of Canada                            13           1
                        Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse     7           1
                        Canadian Institutes of Health
                         Research                             19           2
    Human Resources     Canada Employment Insurance
     and Skills          Commission                            4           2
     Development Canada -----------------------------------------------------
                        Canada Mortgage and Housing
                         Corporation                          13           3
                        Canada Pension Plan/Old Age
                         Security: Review Tribunals          400          40
                        Canada Pension Plan: Pensions
                         Appeals Board                        12           2
    Indian and          First Nations Financial
     Northern Affairs    Management Board                     12           2
     Canada             -----------------------------------------------------
                        First Nations Statistical Institute   15           2
                        National Aboriginal Economic
                         Development Board                    20           7
                        Northern Flood Agreement               1           1
    Industry Canada     Business Development Bank of Canada   15           2
                        Canada Foundation for Innovation       7           1
                        Canadian Space Agency                  2           1
                        Canadian Tourism Commission           25          14
                        National Research Council of Canada   22           3
                        Natural Sciences and Engineering
                         Research Council                     22           3
                        Social Sciences and Humanities
                         Research Council                     22           3
                        Space Advisory Board                  19          19
                        Standards Council of Canada           13           2
    International Trade Export Development Canada             15           2
                        NAFTA Secretariat, Canadian Section    1           1
    Labour              Canadian Centre for Occupational
                         Health and Safety                    41          18
    National Defence    Military Police Complaints
                         Commission                            7           2
    Natural Resources   Alberta - British Columbia Boundary
     Canada              Commission                            1           1
                        Alberta - Northwest Territories
                         Boundary Commission                   1           1
                        British Columbia - Yukon -
                         Northwest Territories Boundary
                         Commission                            1           1
                        Cape Breton Development Corporation    7           7
                        Energy Supplies Allocation Board       1           1
                        Manitoba - Saskatchewan Boundary
                         Commission                            1           1
                        Saskatchewan - Northwest Territories
                         Boundary Commission                   1           1
    Transport,          Intercolonial and P.E.I. Railways
     Infrastructure      Employees Provident Fund              1           1
     and Communities    -----------------------------------------------------
                        Marine Atlantic Inc.                  15           5
                        Parc Downsview Park Inc.              13           4
                        Via Rail Canada Inc.                  17           4
    Treasury Board      Canada School of Public Service       15           3
     of Canada          -----------------------------------------------------
     Secretariat        Public Sector Pension Investment
                         Board                                12           1

1) I always thought “unveiling” was a term better used for art shows, new models of cars or a line of clothing… but this?


End of the week miscellany – budget edition

1. The budget was pretty much as I expected. Governments like to fight their fiscal problems on the backs of the bureaucracy.  Martin did it and Flaherty has followed. CBA increases will be respected for this year,but after that; nada for two years. Pensions weren’t touched for now but expect something to come up in the coming months, if the Reformatories are still hanging on.

But it’s not only salaries that are taking a hit. Those planned salary increases (1.5% in June) that are normally funded by the central agencies are instead going to be covered by the Departments themselves; the ones who have had their own operating budgets frozen. What this means, of course, is that Departments will need to cut programs to meet the increased salary obligations. Some of the increases will be handled by not replacing some of the tens of thousands of workers who will retire over the next few years. But there will have to be some program and services cuts.

Get ready to be inconvenienced, Canada! The average Canuck will be impacted by some of these cuts!

But the Harperites don’t really care. They wanted a pre-election budget that portrays them as deficit-fighting, business-friendly, soccer moms. And who gives a shit about the Public Service, so screw ’em!

Oh, and yeah, so much for the environment

2. Speaking of the environment, this can’t be good.

3. Check out the Squid’s latest posting on the need for electoral reform. He explains the issue very well and, if we are ever fortunate to be able to vote on such reform, then this post should be required reading.

4. The weather, at least in my part of the country, has been awesome!!! So for all of my winter-loving friends, all I can say is: Na-Na-Na-Naaaaa-Na!!!!

5. The Oscars are this weekend. Big whoop. Though Steve Martin as the co-host might provide a laugh or two. And according to the Huffington Post,  Sarah Palin was quite greedy at the annual  gift orgy.

…Palin was supposed to donate $1,700 along with all of her gift items to the Red Cross, which is currently helping with relief efforts in Haiti and Chile.

But E! Online insists, “we can assure you she did not give up any of her swag.” They quote an unnamed vendor who claims that upwards of 20 people from the Palin camp swarmed the event. “They were like locusts,” he told the entertainment news outlet.

6. A good friend got engaged last weekend. Congratulations, A!

7.  A US first grade teacher explained to her class that she is an American. She asked her students to raise their hands if they are American too.
Not really knowing why but wanting to be like their teacher, their hands went up.There is, however, one exception. A girl named Kristen has not gone along with the class.
The teacher asked her why she has decided to be different. “Because I am not an American.”
“Then”, asks the teacher, “What are you?”.
“I’m a proud Canadian,” boasted the little girl.
The teacher asked Kristen why she is a Canadian.
“Well, my mom and dad are Canadians, so I’m a Canadian too.
“The teacher replied,” Well, you could have been born in the US !” she said loudly. Not using good logic the teacher said  “What if your mom was not a good hockey player, and your dad was not a good  hockey player? Would that mean that you are not a good hockey player too?”
A pause, and a smile.  Kristen replied, “Nope! That’d mean I’m an American!”


Harperites ain’t so “handsome”

And so it begins.

PS union leaders are meeting with the President of the Treasury Board, Stockwell “cavemen fought dinosaurs” Day to talk about what they should expect in the next budget, due to be released on March 4th. And federal public servants are justifiably afraid of what the budget may have in store for the PS pension plan – already described by Jimbo Flahtery as “handsome”.

I’ve gone on and on about the PS pension plan, as have others. And if you are in the PS, you pretty much like the status quo, but if you are not, you pretty much think that the pesnions are already way too generous for a buncha lazy good-for-nothing bureaucrats.

So I’m not going to rant on and on about this yet again, except to say this:

Mr. Day, changing the rules of the game is OK if those new rules apply to new employees. They can make the decision whether or not to pursue as a vocation, a career in the PS. The rules of the game are up front and transparent.

But if you dare to change the rules for those of us who have worked hard under the assumption that what we signed on for would still be in place when we retire, then, Mr. Day, you will be in for a fight.  Mark my words.


To serve the public, and be appreciated for it

Today is Employee Appreciation Day in my neck of the woods.

Yeah, I know most non public servants believe that the PS is a rat’s nest full of lazy and overpaid bumpkins, whatever.
Or as XUP put it in a recent post when talking about our pensions:

Our pay increases over the last decade or so have been below cost of living increases and our next contract will probably just maintain the status quo. We’ve had staffing freezes and freezes on all expenditures. This means we’re working on ancient equipment and sitting on broken down furniture in underheated or overheated buildings. What people don’t understand about government employees is that we’ve traded a lot for some sort of job and pension security. Entry level jobs probably pay better than the private sector, but after that we are equal to or less than what could be earned privately. You can work your ass off in the government and you will never get promoted based on merit, you will never get bonuses or incentives, you will never be rich. There will be no gold watch when you retire, no Christmas bonuses, no gifts, no perks. And our day-to-day job gives little personal satisfaction. We are tiny cogs in a big, impersonal machine. Our work will rarely be recognized. We will never be movers or shakers.And we can be working hard on something for months only to have the whole thing cancelled all of a sudden with no explanation. Have you ever had to deal with a government department for anything? Were you frustrated? Whatever frustration you felt, multiply that by at least 10 and that’s what it’s like on the inside. But we stay because security is more important than all that stuff and that’s seriously the ONLY reason most of us are still here. And everybody hates us, mocks us and thinks we have such a cushy gig.

But let me tell you about the folks that I’m in charge of.

This bunch is a collection of hard-working, intelligent and motivated Canadians. They’re folks who take what they do seriously, professionally and do it well. I am proud to work with them and mostly everyone else with whom I have had the pleasure to do so in my 12 1/2 years of serving the Canadian public.

They are my family beyond my family and when I do eventually retire (or am booted out!), I will have many, many years of great memories to take with me.

Are there those in the PS at large who fit that negative image that is so popular? Of course there are! But any very large organization will have staff of this ilk and we are no different. It’s just that the PS is such an easy target and one can easily overlook those lazy slobs that are certain to exist in companies like Xerox, Microsoft, Ford and the TD bank.

Except for the guy 4th from the right (who is an Honorary Member of our group), this is my team on the Canal at lunchtime earlier this week. Missing are three folks – one had another engagement, one of whom was on course and the other was ill.

Thanks guys!


Time for we Canadian Public Servants to pat ourselves on the back!

It is Public Service Week.

And we who have chosen as a vocation and dedicated our energies to the service the Canadian people have every reason to proudly celebrate!

Over yonder in XUP’s ‘hood there is a great post that will give all you non-PS folks a taste of what we’re all about.

Wander over there and read it – she says it way better than I can!

Go! Now!