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Your brain on union politics.

Your brain on union politics.


It may be your money, but Jean-Denis Frechette will tell you what to do with it in his new report. Apparently, the Parliamentary Budget Officer knows what you should do with your bucks better than you do, and that is pay for public servants’ sick leaves.

Oh, wait. Did I mention that the Parliamentary Budget Officer is a public servant himself? So, let’s not take his word at face value.

In his report, the public servant says that, despite what Tony Clement will have people believe, the cost of replacing servants when they’re sick is minimal. However, the report does say that there are exceptions to the rule with respect to departments that deal with health and safety.  Approximately seven potential agencies out of 20 can be considered “exceptions.”

According to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat website, when the survey for the report was conducted between 2009 and 2010, there were just over 282,000 people working for the Federal Public Service. Those numbers have since fallen to 257,138 servants in 2014. During the 2009-10 period, there were fewer sick days recorded in almost all the government agencies except Statistics Canada and Health Canada; in 2014, there has been a considerable increase in sick days, even with 26,000 fewer staff members. How is it possible that, when there were more public servants employed, there were fewer sick days, but, now that Canada has fewer public servants, there are more recorded sick days? How does this not add up to more money wasted?

Well, according to the president of Public Service Alliance of Canada Robyn Benson, “we have a minister who is talking about sick leave as if it is costing Canadians so much money — and it’s not.” I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel like I’m being sold snake oil here.

Of course it’s more money wasted! Believing otherwise just shows how willing the public is to take anybody’s word without question. It’s exactly this kind of attitude from both the government and the public that leads to wasteful expenditure and lost jobs.

The reason for this well-thought out report, is the approaching negations between 17 unions and the federal government. The unions obviously don’t want changes made to the “sick leave” clause but the government does, in hopes to save some dollar bills.

If the federal government considers this report and follows their recommendations, then they’re not the sharpest tools in the shed, and they would allow the unions to make a hefty decision that they’re not qualified to make.  On the other hand, if the government ignores the report, the public will be upset, and that’s one more nail in the Conservatives’ coffin. The situation is a Catch 22, and the federal government can’t win. So, which is more important to the Conservative government: their agenda or votes? We’ll just have to wait and find out. In the meantime, the unions have the Harper government exactly where they want them: in a pickle.