Regions taking the brunt, after all

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HED: Regions

taking the

brunt, after all/SUBHEAD: National capital area not feeling as much job-loss pain as the regions are experiencing.


Islanders who have insisted this province has shouldered a disproportionate share of federal job cuts may not feel any better at the latest statistics supporting their claim, but they at least should feel somewhat validated.

According to statistics gathered by the federal public-sector union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, most of the cuts to the federal public service have occurred outside the nation's capital, in spite of assurances by the Harper Conservatives that the Ottawa region would absorb most of the cuts.

The Canadian Press reported the union's statistics last week and they provide fodder for government's critics. Of the18,000 notices sent to federal employees that they could lose their positions, 35 per cent occurred within the capital region; 65 per cent went elsewhere. Specifically, 14 per cent went to employees in Ontario, 13 per cent to federal workers in Quebec, 12 per cent to the Prairies, and 10 per cent to Atlantic Canada.

That breakdown doesn't square with the assurance given last March by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty when he delivered his budget and the news of the job cuts. "A large proportion of the full-time equivalent reductions will occur in the National Capital Region," the budget document states. CP further quotes the document: "The regional distribution of employment in the federal public service will be largely unaffected by the implementation of the departmental spending reductions."

Since these assurances were given, union officials and members of the opposition parties have insisted that the regions have felt the brunt of job  cuts. P.E.I.'s Liberal MPs have said Veterans Affairs in this province, for example, has been unfairly targeted, and Liberal Senator Percy Downe has repeatedly pointed out the disproportionate share of cuts to DVA.

The figures released last week by the union representing the federal employees bear this out. It doesn't ease the reality of job loss or job uncertainty, but it lends credibility to the argument advocates of federal employees have been making all along.


 Upgrading a waterfront


Efforts by the Town of Souris to upgrade its waterfront seem to be a good example of a community trying to develop its beachfront with plenty of input from residents. Whatever materializes in this picturesque eastern P.E.I. community, it's important that it appeal to those who call Souris their home.

Deputy Mayor Denis Thibodeau said recently that the design consultant hired by the town in 2008 had prepared earlier concepts but revised the plans based on input from town council and residents. As of last week, an updated plan was expected soon. Among other things, the new plan won't feature a dropoff area, which was included in the initial concept, because people didn't feel it was necessary. There will also be some changes to the shoreline engineering and in how the project will address the seawall.

According to Jill Robertson of Ekistics Planning and Design, the company doing the work, the plan aims to appeal to the community itself and visitors. "If it works for the community, it generally works for people visiting the community," she said.

That makes sense. A proud community that cultivates an interest in and care for its residents and its built and natural environment has a way of reflecting those values. And that can be appealing to those passing through.


Organizations: Public Service Alliance of Canada, Harper Conservatives, Canadian Press Liberal MPs Veterans Affairs

Geographic location: Ottawa, Ontario, Quebec Atlantic Canada National Capital Region Eastern P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • Garth Staples
    October 03, 2012 - 06:26

    The 'hit' pales in comparison what the Ghiz Govt did to Transportation employees et al.

  • angus
    October 02, 2012 - 10:17

    Hmmm - seems to me union leadership has done a good job then of protecting their vip members in Ottawa. That of course is where the most votes come from when union elections are held and those cushy jobs and nice salaries and perks are decided upon for the union execs. Not surprising - Union bosses always look out for #1.