Crystal Warner: Have you hugged a public servant today?
Canadian media has been paying attention to cuts in the federal civil service. Cuts to Canada Post, and seeing veterans and their families disrespected by our "honourable" ministers in particular have upset the public. Now we are hearing about gag orders on Canadian meteorologists who are being told to focus on day to day weather and to ignore long-term trends—in other words, stop talking about that pesky climate change and focus on the cold front coming in tomorrow.
At what point do public services in this country stop being public services? While our veterans attempt to find an open office, our coastlines have been made unsafe by the closure of marine search and rescue stations. Cuts to EI offices mean seasonal workers cannot access benefits and get the financial support they desperately need. Want to file your taxes? I hope you know how to use a computer or are prepared to wait on hold, because every single Canada Revenue service counter in the country has been closed.
Upset about Northern Gateway? Maybe we could ask our Fisheries and Oceans department to give us an impact statement on what the pipeline might do to fish habitats. Except wait—staff there have been reduced too.
If the censoring of scientists, disregard for the environment, and cuts to EI do not upset you, how about the undermining of our country’s security? Cuts to frontline border workers, intelligence officials, and sniffer dog teams are putting Canadian security at risk and making crimes like cross-border gun smuggling harder to stop. Not to mention the hollowing out of our Department of National Defense, where cuts to civilian staff mean less support for the Canadian military and its missions abroad as well as less support for the families of soldiers who have been deployed.
Still not upset? How about that sandwich you are about to put in your mouth. The food we eat is about to become a lot less safe as the government looks to cut another 19 percent of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s workforce by 2017.
Ten years from now you probably won’t be able to find any of this information. Why? Because Library and Archives Canada has experienced such devastating cuts our researchers will have little to no access to historical documentation.
At what point have we had enough? What will it take for Canadians to mobilize and stop this agenda? The term civil servant is about to become obsolete as our members are prevented from doing their job and actually serving Canadians.
The time for action is now. We must be prepared to stand up for fairness—to stand up for public services, because we are all affected by cuts to the public sector. Public servants stand with our communities. We stand with Canadians and future Canadians and we say no to more cuts. We are proud of the work we do serving the public. So hug a public servant—and know that we stand with you and your family.