Tory axe set to fall on Ottawa
When the Harper government revealed its budget Thursday, many observers in this government town wondered how many bureaucrats would be sacked.
The answer: 19,200.
“It’s not as many cuts as we expected, which is a good thing,” said Mayor Jim Watson, “but obviously thousands of jobs lost have an impact not only on the individuals and their families, but also a ripple effect on the local economy.”
Watson estimates 5,000 to 6,000 jobs will be lost here, but NDP MP Paul Dewar expects the capital will absorb the majority of the Conservatives’ cuts.
“They ran on strengthening the economy, creating jobs, and instead what they’re doing is they’re cutting jobs when it comes to this region,” he said. “So I’m calling on (John) Baird and the other (area) Conservative MPs to stand up for our region, stand up for our local economy.”
Nepean-Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre preferred to concentrate on the bigger picture.
“The only way for us to provide job security to public servants is to ensure that the cost of the bureaucracy is affordable,” he said.
Invest Ottawa CEO Bruce Lazenby believes the actual number of cuts may be smaller.
“My experience has been that those numbers often don’t play out, and so my suspicion is three years from now we won’t see that net decrease,” he said.
Larry Rousseau of the Public Service Alliance of Canada had the opposite suspicion, worrying more local job losses might be lurking in the budget’s fine print.
“I think that Mr. Flaherty’s putting a nice face on it. It’s like when they tell you they’re going to hit you with a baseball bat 10 times and then they only hit you five times,” he said.
“I’m going to just wait and see if the other five hits are not somewhere buried in the budget itself.”