Public servants fear layoffs amid Tory majority
Conservative proposal to slash billions from federal programs causes anxiety about downsizing
More than 150,000 public servants working in Ottawa awoke Tuesday to a new Conservative majority government, and new anxieties about what that will mean for their jobs.
Conservative budget documents proposed plans to slash some $11 billion over the next four years in federal programs. Federal employees now wonder whether that could translate to bad news for them.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada is bracing for the worst. John Gordon, the alliance's president, told CBC News on Tuesday he believes the service is on the chopping block.
"Now that they have the majority they've been seeking really for quite a long time now, they can just go through and push their agenda," Gordon said. "I've said quite often, actually, that we haven't really seen the real Stephen Harper."
View speeches from John Baird, Paul Dewar, David McGuinty, Françoise Boivin and others after historic night.
Meanwhile, the former head of PSAC, Nycole Turmel, is committed to fighting potential plans to minimize the public service.
Turmel, who was elected Monday night in Hull-Aylmer for the NDP, said her party will stand up for federal employees.
"We'll work the government in place, and we'll make sure they protect the services of government, meaning to protect the jobs as well," she pledged.
The prospect of layoffs in the federal bureaucracy is a hot topic in Ottawa, but newly re-elected Conservative MP Scott Reid assured public servants Tuesday that a Tory majority was no reason to fear.
Ottawa stands pat
Reid, who won his seat Monday night in Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington for a fifth time, pointed to positive outcomes for the Tories in local ridings as an indication that federal employees trust the Conservatives will look after them.
"Look at the results in the Ottawa area," Reid said, noting that several Ottawa-area districts re-elected Conservatives by even greater margins than in previous elections.
"Obviously, there's a high degree of confidence among public servants that the Conservatives will act in the manner that [Conservative Leader] Stephen Harper has promised."
Quebec's orange wave
Click on our interactive map to see how New Democrats did across the province.
Conservative John Baird, the re-elected member for Ottawa West-Nepean, had said the Conservative government would trim $4 billion in annual federal program spending if elected.
Baird pledged that "slash and burn" cuts were not on the agenda, and that the savings could be made without massive job cuts.
The proposal caused anxiety for thousands of public servants, but Reid said they "should be enthusiastic" about the Conservative majority.
"I think people are intelligent in their pursuit of their self-interests," Reid said. "I think they understand that the government is going to be responsible in how it treats public servants."