10.8 billion dollars in cuts

By 2015, the Harper government will have imposed permanent budget cuts of at least 10.8 billion dollars per year to federal departments and agencies. By slashing their funding, the government deprives them of essential resources needed to carry out their duties to the public.

35,000 jobs could be lost

More than 35,000 positions could be abolished in the federal public service. This total includes job cuts announced by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in Budget 2012 as well as job losses from previous budget cuts. With the layoff of tens of thousands of workers, the quality and accessibility of public services are compromised.

Zero transparency

The Harper government has provided no detailed information on how the cuts will be implemented within each federal department and agency. This lack of transparency has been denounced several times by opposition parties and by the Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page. In fact, in June 2012, Mr. Page obtained a legal opinion confirming that departments and agencies have violated the Parliament of Canada Act by refusing to hand over such information. Despite this legal opinion, he still hasn’t received the requested details.

Misleading Claims

Contrary to claims by the Harper government, savings extracted from federal departments and agencies are not obtained by “eliminating waste” in “internal operations”. In fact, it’s front line services which are most affected.

CLAIM: « The vast majority of the savings will come from eliminating waste in the internal operations of government, making it leaner and more efficient. »

– Jim Flaherty, Finance Minister

Source: Budget Speech, March 29th 2012

FACT: « […] expenditures for Internal Services were approximately $5.3 billion, an 8 per cent increase on the previous year. […] The continued increase in Internal Services expenditure suggests that spending growth on overhead has not been curtailed, as suggested in Budgets 2010 through 2012, and the focus of restraint exercises has instead been on reduced spending to front line services. »

– Kevin Page, Parliamentary Budget Officer

Source: Expenditure Monitor: 2012-13 Q2, January 24th 2013