Lib­er­als must keep prom­ises to pub­lic sec­tor

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - Chris Lans­dell is the Pub­lic Ser­vice Al­liance of Canada’s pro­vin­cial di­rec­tor for New­found­land and Labrador

The ex­perts are be­gin­ning to speak.

Robert Shep­herd, a pro­fes­sor of pub­lic pol­icy at Ot­tawa’s Car­leton Univer­sity, has said to the me­dia that sub­stan­tial hir­ing needs to take place in Canada’s civil ser­vice to coun­ter­act 10 years of “an­tag­o­nism and cyn­i­cism” un­der the Harper gov­ern­ment.

This has been as ev­i­dent here in New­found­land as any­where else, with cuts to staff han­dling every­thing from the safety of your food to the han­dling of your tax re­turns to the pro­cess­ing of your EI claims to the pro­tec­tion of the lives of our broth­ers and sis­ters try­ing to reap the ocean’s bounty for a liv­ing. It is not a stretch to say that ev­ery as­pect of life here in New- found­land and Labrador has been dam­aged by 10 years of Con­ser­va­tive cuts, muz­zlings and de­fund­ings.

Con­trary to the patently false Con­ser­va­tive por­trayal of pub­lic ser­vants as lazy, money-hun­gry drains on so­ci­ety, the gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees in this prov­ince and around the coun­try are des­per­ate to be able to serve the Cana­dian peo­ple as they de­serve to be served.

Those gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees have been de­nied the funds and staff they need to do the vol­ume of work they have for year af­ter year un­der Tony Cle­ment and Stephen Harper. The mo­men­tous re­sults of Oct.19 have given us some­thing else we have not had in 10 years.

Hope.

Justin Trudeau courted our vote with an open let­ter promis­ing to re­peal Con­ser­va­tive leg­is­la­tion that harmed union work­ers across the coun­try, es­pe­cially those em­ployed in the pub­lic ser­vice. He promised to ne­go­ti­ate fairly and openly with us and to re­pair the dam­age done by the Harper-Cle­ment tag team. He also made the com­mit­ment to re-open the nine Vet­er­ans’ Af­fairs of­fices, in­clud­ing the one in Cor­ner Brook.

Well Mr. Trudeau, you have your man­date. It is now time to ful­fill your prom­ises, we hope to start a new era of restor­ing trust and re­spect where pub­lic ser­vice work­ers’ voices are val­ued and re­spected.

Here in New­found­land and Labrador, so many fam­i­lies rely on fed­eral gov­ern­ment jobs to feed their fam­i­lies. So many more rely on the ser­vices we pro­vide to pro­tect their fam­i­lies, to feed them, to care for them.

We have seven Lib­eral MPs in this great prov­ince, and they should be go­ing to bat for all their con­stituents who be­lieve that it is past time to treat Canada’s pub­lic ser­vice as the pre­cious re­source it is.

So I call on you, all seven mem­bers of the NL Lib­eral Cau­cus, to bring th­ese is­sues to the ta­ble. En­sure your party keeps its prom­ises to the Cana­dian pub­lic and to the peo­ple who elected you.

Do the right thing, let the labour move­ment con­tinue to play the im­por­tant role that you rec­og­nize it as hav­ing, and ne­go­ti­ate fairly and openly with us. Don’t turn our hope back into de­spair.

Justin Trudeau courted our vote with an open let­ter promis­ing to re­peal Con­ser­va­tive leg­is­la­tion that harmed union work­ers across the coun­try, es­pe­cially those em­ployed in the pub­lic ser­vice.

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