Public service workers demonstrate against cuts

Local unions were out in force on Thursday, raising awareness of $8 to $10 billion in federal cuts to public services.

Published in the Prince Albert Daily Herald

Public service workers demonstrate against cuts
By: Derek Cornet

Local unions were out in force on Thursday, raising awareness of $8 to $10 billion in federal cuts to public services.

“The economic crisis was not created by the public service, nor was it created by hard-working Canadians who depend on public services,” said Tim Hogan, president of Local 42003. “The deficit was caused by irresponsible actions of Wall Street and the financial sector, as well as Harper’s choices to spend billions on fighter jets and a dumb-on-crime agenda.”

Hogan said it was frustrating that the government has announced spending cuts, but has not detailed how the cuts will be made.

He does anticipate, however, that up to 100,000 public and private service jobs could be cut.

“This is something we want to stand in solidarity against,” Hogan said. “(NDA) is taking place in virtually every city in Canada where they provide public services.”

The federal government has hired a private company to suggest where it should make cuts, Hogan said. He believes the government should be consulting with local unions and the public to determine where cuts should be made.

“If you cut that kind of money from the public service, obviously there will be services no longer rendered to the public,” Hogan said. “We believe that it would be a wise idea to ask them (the public) what they would like to be without.”

Prince Albert should be concerned about the cuts, said Larry Schlosser, who was out supporting his colleagues.

“A lot of people aren’t aware of what’s possibly going to happen because nothing has really been put out in terms of jobs, and how it may affect Prince Albert. The federal government is one of the biggest employers in Prince Albert,” Schlosser said.

Schlosser said the austerity program has already started in the city, and that it just has not been made official. Schlosser, along with others at the demonstration, said job vacancies have not been filled and permanent positions have been staffed in terms.

Glenn Ash, the acting president of the Aboriginal Affairs Canada local union, said with less funding, there would undoubtedly be reduced services in Aboriginal Affairs, and feels it is important that the public is aware of the cuts.

Ash also said he supports the NDA and hopes people understand what coming.

“The NDA is necessary. I think it’s good and hopefully it will have an impact.”