The Myths, The Truth and The Consequences

Dec. 3, 2001

Dear Editor,

Some reasons why you, your family and your community should question the reckless public services cuts proposed by the Campbell government are:

  • Leading by example? While calling for deep cuts to public services, the Campbell government has created the largest and most expensive cabinet in B.C. history and gave deputy minister raises up to 50 per cent.

  • Manufactured Crisis. Of the projected deficit of $6 billion in 2003-04, the Campbell government in its first 90 days created $3.5 billion.

  • Lean and Mean. Statistics Canada reports that B.C. has the second leanest public service sector per capita in Canada. Enough said.

  • Fragile Economy. With the softwood lumber dispute, the corrections in the high tech sector and September 11, the world and our provincial economy is already very fragile. To proceed with reckless cuts to public services will only serve to deepen the economic chaos our communities face.

  • Fiscal Review Panel. This hand-picked government panel said that B.C. should not follow the pattern of Ontario or Alberta. We should find a made in B.C. solution that respects the needs of the disadvantaged. Good advice, but not what Gordo wanted to hear.

  • Unnecessary. 50 per cent of the public service will be eligible for retirement by 2008. So if you do not accept the value of public services, you could still achieve reductions through attrition, which could ease the transition for workers, communities and the economy.

  • A Freeze is a Cut. To suggest that health care and education have been saved from cuts is a lie. To freeze health care funding means longer wait lists, reduced home support services, more recruitment problems and much more. Remember the campaign theme "health care when you need it, where you need it"?

  • They Lied. During the election campaign the Liberals went to great lengths to mask the agenda that is unfolding today. In Victoria, public service workers were told they had nothing to fear from the Liberals. Health care was sacred. Minimum wage would go to $8. Targeted tax cut for low and middle-income earners only.

  • September 11. On that day, New Yorkers did not call on the help of some CEO or the latest dot.com company or some investment banker. They called on health care workers, police, public works, fire, community social services - they called on public service workers. Here in B.C. we are looking at not only reducing our ability to respond to emergencies, we are reducing our ability to help our communities each and every day.

The Liberal government does not have a mandate to make these changes. To have a mandate you have to tell the electorate your plans.

The Liberals have a healthy majority; this does not give them the right to callously disregard the honesty and integrity we expect from our elected representatives.


David Doran,

Acting President,

North Okanagan Labour Council


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