Flaherty also said the government is looking at controlling the rate of growth in the salaries of public servants, and is continuing with a strategic review of expenditures at all government departments.
We should not be surprised that Mike Harris's Finance Minister should talk about cutting wages for public sector workers. This was the neo-con aganeda during the ninties, carried out by Harris, Klein and Paul Martin. This is not new thinking, this is reactionary thinking. Attacking workers wages during a crisis of consumer capitalism will further entrench a recession which will then whipsaw into the private sector.
Flaherty says the equalization program itself isn’t threatened but spending growth needs to be controlled. "It’s a federal program, we will limit the growth of the program … it’s not sustainable otherwise," he said, I thought rather gravely.
The problem is, if transfers grow more slowly than inflation, provinces will face shortfalls. So less risky, politically at least, is cutting the civil service.
The Conservatives know there’s a standing constituency for strict control of public spending. And cuts can be doled out in ways that minimize the pain to particular constituencies.
That said, the last round of deep cuts was in the early 1990s, when Paul Martin and Jean Chretien put the brakes on federal transfers to the provinces and hacked away at programs. They cut the civil service and conditioned people to expect public spending cuts as the tactic of choice when times are tough.
While capitalist apologists bemoan any claw back of tax cuts to big business the Harpocrites now are suggesting attacks on workers wages.The reduction in transfer payments and discussions amongst the Premiers with Harper recently shows that the message has also been sent to these levels of government; prepare to roll back wages and benefits to your public sector workers. Anything to avoid a deficit. Class war has been declared by the Harpocrites.
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