Thursday, November 17, 2011

Creating a Culture of Fear in the Public Service

If you had to choose one word to describe how Stephen Harper runs his government, it would be a toss up between control and fear, though both go hand in hand.

His tight fisted control creates a culture of fear, and he uses his PMO to keep everyone in his government afraid.

Dean Del Mastro says that he even has to select his ties with care because if he wears one that goes against the image that the PMO were hoping to create that day, he'll end up on the hot seat. (Harperland, Lawrence Martin, 2010)

Those on the Hill say that even with a majority, Harper has not loosened the shackles.

We learned recently that Tony Clement is joining the fear to keep people in line team, as he looks to cut government spending.  Just don't touch the PMO, with the largest communications staff in the history of the country.

Their next press release could have his name on it, next to the word 'demoted'.

The government has hired an accounting firm to determine where they can cut funding, costing us $90,000 a day.  This reminds me of John Baird when he was in the Ontario Mike Harris government.  He hired Enron's accounting firm to do the same thing.

They were successful, finding savings of $89.5 million.  The only problem was that Ontario taxpayers were handed a bill for $193 million for their "cost cutting" services.  Most of the $90 million was at the expense of welfare recipients who saw their benefits slashed, while others were simply cut from the rolls. (Anderson Consulting and Accenture, Polaris Institute, June 2003)

From social welfare to corporate welfare.

Anderson Consulting changed its name to Accenture when the Enron scandal hit, but not the way they did business.  To make sure they didn't lose the contract, they contributed $30,000 to the Harris team.  ( Tory Welfare Donations Under Fire,  Hamilton Spectator, October 25, 2001; "Consulting Firm Boosts PC Coffers, Richard Brennan, Toronto Star, October 25th, 2001)

They became the gift that kept on taking.

So when Tony Clement claims to be hiring private firms to "save" us money, I'm not buying it.  Clement was also in the Harris government.

However, even worse than possible palm greasing, there is also a cash bonus being offered to managers who can find ways to save money.  The bigger the cut, the larger the bonus.

What a horrible workplace atmosphere that this creates.  Your boss could be making money off your demise.

The union is standing up for the workers, and we must support them.  We've seen how several U.S. states have suspended, or attempted to suspend bargaining rights, and there is a potential for similar legislation here, that could affect everyone.

Even those who don't belong to a union, could find themselves out of work, because lower wages across the board, means less disposable income, and less disposable income, creates a trigger effect.

This could be a disaster in the making.

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