Tuesday May 24, 2011
Clement won’t rule out program cuts: reports
Treasury Board head Tony Clement said he would consider shutting entire programs and shrinking the public service to help produce a balanced budget by 2014-2015, according to reports.
Clement was named Treasury Board president on Wednesday, taking over from Stockwell Day, and is tasked with finding savings in other government departments to reduce the deficit, which is projected this year to be $29.6 billion.
On Wednesday, Clement acknowledged that a preferred option for saving money would be through attrition, or cutting public service jobs when people leave or retire.
But on Thursday, he elaborated, telling the Globe and Mail and Ottawa Citizen newspapers that cuts could mean entire programs are shuttered. Programs that might have been important 30 years ago may no longer be the best way to spend public money today, he said.
Patty Ducharme, the national executive vice-president for the Public Sector Alliance of Canada, the largest public sector union, said she was not surprised by the news. Ever since the government first talked about reducing staff through attrition, public service unions have said such a plan was not possible or practical.
“I’m dismayed though, given the fact that what this government has been saying leading up to the election was that there would be job reductions, but those reductions would come through attrition and nothing more than attrition,” Ducharme said.
“One day into the job and now he’s telling the truth. Thanks Tony.”
Ducharme said she was at a loss as to which government programs might be targeted. (Source: CBC News)