John Baird says Harper Conservatives will make constraint in spending growth 'the centrepiece' of their approach to tackling record federal budget shortfalls.
Ottawa (10 Aug. 2010) - The Harper Conservatives will not make federal public employees scapegoats for the record federal deficits they have run up in their short time in office, says John Baird, the newly appointed government house leader in Parliament.
"We won't see the massive cuts to the public service that happened under the last Liberal government," Baird told the Ottawa Citizen. "I don't envisage anything like that."
He was referring to cutbacks made by the Chretien Liberals in the 1990s when they inherited similar record deficits run up by the last Tory government to hold office in Canada, the Mulroney Conservatives.
Baird acknowledged that the government is moving into tougher fiscal times but he pledged that it will not try to balance its books on the backs of public employees.
The deficit this year is projected at $54 billion, well above the old Mulroney record of $43 billion.
"If we can just contain the growth of spending within government, that will be the centrepiece of our plans to balance the budget," he said.
Baird said the government will increase spending in some areas, including defence, airport security and law and order. Elsewhere, though, "we'll be holding the line on growth. There'll be some areas where there won't be budget increases."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE