Crystal Warner: Have you hugged a public servant today?

Canadians are all affected by cuts to the public sector

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      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 trendsin 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.


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      Jun 3, 2014 at 11:24am

      I hug public servants everyday!


      Jun 3, 2014 at 11:28am

      Bureaucrats make the decisions when cuts are made and they always make sure to eliminate frontline public services first so they can protect the "managers." Blaming the elected government or public service unions is foolhardy and exactly what the bureaucrats know the bulk of you will do. What we need is a cull of that mass of "public servants" who don't provide any services. The administrative burden costs hundreds of millions a year that should be going to direct delivery of services. 50% of salaried government employees not directly providing services should be fired as it will be cheaper to give them EI than to keep paying six-figure salaries to junior paper pushers.

      Hulio Rodriguez

      Jun 3, 2014 at 11:34am

      Excellent article! The Stephen Harper era needs to end!

      Justin Time

      Jun 3, 2014 at 5:26pm

      You can only attack the good hard working Canadians so long before they strike back. We are a passive lot, but we are not so passive that we will allow the very fabric of this country to be destroyed. Harper and the conservative are responsible and they MUST GO!


      Jun 3, 2014 at 6:45pm

      There are many things I don't like about certain aspects of the conservative government, some of which you have noted.

      There are also many things I don't like about certain aspects of the public service sector such as the lack of accountability and efficiency, which I have personally experienced.

      Just once I would love to see the Straight paper dance within a mile of balanced of balanced reporting...just once.


      Jun 3, 2014 at 6:49pm

      Quite clear to me, it's all about busting union/middle-class jobs where possible. Sad.

      Martin Dunphy

      Jun 3, 2014 at 7:03pm


      Thanks for the post, but I respectfully suggest you stop reading unsolicited submitted commentaries and opinion pieces and characterizing them as "Straight...reporting".
      Straight reporters always strive to get both (or more) sides of every story.
      More often than not (when it involves the government), one of those sides refuses to grant an interview.


      Jun 3, 2014 at 8:03pm

      Thanks that was a very clear article on what has happened and is happening to our services that were around for our parents and some grandparent's. I once believed that Canada was the best country to live in, because we took care of each other and cared about the world. After working for the Federal Government for the past 20 years it has all changed in the last 6 years.
      WE as public servant's are TOLD "NO you do not work for the average Canadian." You work for. The party who currently has the power of the government, that is who you work for.
      Well that ia not who I thought I was working for, I thought I was working for the General Public of Canadians, No says this current government. And no you can not even have a part time job with Tupperware unless we allow it! WTF???
      So Thank-You Crystal for all you have said.


      Jun 3, 2014 at 9:32pm

      While I agree cuts to front-line services like the Coast Guard, Veterans and Science organizations are disturbing, there is still a lot of inefficiencies with the public service. The CRA not having a physical desk is just about fine with me this day and age. I'm sure there's others that can disappear too I'd be none the wiser...


      Jun 4, 2014 at 5:39am

      I had no idea about most of this...and I'm disgusted.