June 20, 2012
The Honourable Tony Clement, PC, MP
President of the Treasury Board
Room 278, Confederation Building
Parliament of Canada
In the months leading up to the announced job cuts to the Civil Service you indicated to the House of Commons and to the public that cuts to the Civil Service would implemented in a way that no one region would be adversely affected.
This principle of fairness was consistent with your other decision instructing all federal departments and agencies to submit 5 percent and 10 percent reduction scenarios, the idea being that any cuts would not be uneven from one department to another.
Yesterday in the House of Commons I provided evidence suggesting your principle of fairness to be false, and demonstrably so. I made reference that the announced cuts will have a severe and uneven impact on the people of Prince Edward Island.
I am including for your review the Hansard account of my question and your response:
Mr. Sean Casey (Charlottetown, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, on page 221 of the budget, the government stated, “The regional distribution of employment in the federal public service will be largely unaffected by the implementation of the departmental spending reductions”. Federal jobs, it said, would be reduced by 4.8%. It is not true, not on Prince Edward Island. Federal job cuts will be more than double that amount. Hammering our seasonal economy through the EI changes apparently was not enough. Why has my province been singled out in this manner? Is there nobody over there who cares about Prince Edward Island?
Hon. Tony Clement (President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, CPC): Mr. Speaker, indeed, I can assure the hon. member that any job reductions were analyzed to make sure that there was regional fairness, fairness inside Ottawa, fairness outside of Ottawa and that no particular region or province bore the brunt of those reductions to a greater extent than other provinces or regions.
In response to my question you falsely re-assert the principle that no region or province is to bear an uneven burden as a result of job reductions.
Allow me to further press the matter. On page 221 of the Conservative Budget, it is claimed that the overall reduction of federal jobs in Canada would be in the range of 4.8 percent of the total Civil Service work force.
I invite you to read a recent report (attached) entitled “Economic Impact of Federal Workforce Reductions in Prince Edward Island” authored by one of the leading law firms in Eastern Canada, McInnes Cooper, in which it suggests the percentage of job losses in PEI will be more than double the 4.8 percent national figure you assert, and will in fact result in an approximate 10 percent reduction. To be clear, that is a 10 percent reduction for PEI alone.
To further illustrate how PEI has been hammered by your government – even before the recent job cuts, your own Treasury Board statistics show that during the period 2009-2011 the Civil Service was increased significantly, but reduced in PEI:
Federal employment grew by 2.9% nationwide.
Federal employment grew by 5.1% in the Ottawa area.
Federal employment shrunk by 1.5% in Atlantic Canada.
Federal Employment shrunk by 3.5% in Prince Edward Island.
The economic impact of losing federal jobs will cost the economy of Prince Edward Island $60 million dollars annually. For a small province like ours, this is an enormous and disproportionate hit.
The social impact will be beyond measure. There will be an increase in poverty, causing further stress to the province and municipalities. There will be a surge in out migration as our young people are forced to leave in search of work.
To make matters worse, the changes your government is making to Employment Insurance will gut seasonal businesses, inflict real hardship on seasonal workers and disrupt our world class tourism industry.
I would welcome your feedback on the enclosed report. If your department has numbers that refute the facts and assumptions contained in the report, I would welcome those figures.
Sean Casey, QC, MP