Civil servant wages not to blame for deficit

Re: "Want to enjoy great wages and job security?" by Barbara Yaffe, Feb. 22.

Yaffe quotes former Reform MP Herb Grubel, who wants to deprive public servants of the right to strike. Wow!

The most recent example of someone trying to stop public servants from striking was Egypt's Hosni Mubarak. Nice company you're keeping. The right to collective bargaining and collective action is fundamental to democracy -and is largely responsible for all those things we enjoy, like 40-hour work weeks, statutory holidays, benefits and a strong economy fuelled by a strong middle class.

Next, Yaffe complains about the rate of pay increases for unionized public-sector workers between 1998 and 2009. Missing are figures for the previous decade, which saw a massive attack on the wages and jobs of public servants.

Then, the column blames bureaucrat raises for a large part of the federal deficit, but fails to point out the effect of massive tax cuts handed to corporations making billions and, in Alberta, to wealthy individuals making millions. If you really want to balance the books, try restoring taxation levels so everybody pays their fair share.

Albertans and Canadians have said time and time again that they want quality public services and are prepared to pay for them in the way of taxes. The alternative is privatizing services, which will result in an unacceptable decline in quality as corporations cut corners to improve bottom lines.

Edmonton Journal, Mon Feb 28 2011
Byline: Gil McGowan

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