Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

February 26, 2008 22:02 ET

PIPSC, 2008 Federal Budget: An Insignificant Shell Game!

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 26, 2008) - Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's federal budget did not contain much in the way of new announcements and regurgitates last fall's economic statement, says the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), the union representing 55,000 professionals employed by the federal, provincial and territorial governments. The Institute's main concern with this budget is the possible transfer of government science laboratories to the university sector.

The budget provides $21 million over two years to establish up to 20 Canada Global Excellence Research Chairs. These chairs will be established in the four priority areas identified in the government's science and technology strategy: the environment, natural resources and energy, health, and information and communication technologies. "It is significant that three of these four chairs are in areas where there's an existing government department," comments PIPSC President Michele Demers. "What does this really mean?"

Another area of potential concern for the Institute is the impact of the strategic review of 17 departments and agencies with total annual expenditures of $13.6 billion. It is not clear what the ramifications will be on staffing requirements in those departments and agencies. "At a time when everyone agrees there is a looming demographic crunch and an urgent need for renewal of the public service, the timing would be most inopportune to cut positions in the public service," adds Ms. Demers.

Among the more questionable measures contained in the budget is the creation of two new Crown corporations. The first of these will result from a $1.26 billion Public-Private Partnerships Fund (P3 Fund). This new Agency may increase the already much too rapid pace of privatization of public sector responsibilities in Canada.

The second new Crown corporation will deal with the Employment Insurance (EI) program, to ensure that EI premiums are used solely for the EI program. "Why do you need a separate Crown corporation to ensure that EI funds are being used properly? Ms. Demers asks. "Boondoggle!"

The 2008 federal budget can be best described as an insignificant shell game. All in all, this budget is much more notable for what it does not contain than for what it does contain. The budget says nothing about public service renewal and the crying needs of the public service. The amounts being spent on the environment and the manufacturing sector are peanuts, compared to the huge corporate tax breaks the government gave out in last fall's economic statement and the large sum going to debt repayment.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada is a national union representing 55,000 professionals and scientists across the country.

Contact Information

  • Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
    Chantal Lecours
    Section Head, Communications
    613-228-6310, ext. 2229 or 613-864-4368 (Cell)