Is the Alberta Government a "bully" for not funding the Child and Youth Advocate Del Graff the full amount requested? That's the line Graham Thompson is trying to feed you in the Edmonton Journal:
Graff explained the money was needed to cover the salaries of five new staff hired last year to investigate the deaths of children in government care. By the way, those five staff members were hired on the approval of the same government MLAs who have now voted against providing the money needed to pay them.What Thompson and pretty much every media outlet covering this news failed to bring up for context was what's the current Child and Youth Advocate budget?
And now, more bad news: Government members on the committee could not present a compelling argument for their decision to reject the advocate’s request.
The answer: $12.796 million dollars in 2014-15. $12.364M was the 2013-14 budget.
The cut: $0.275M, roughly 2% of the overall budget.
Now you know why Thompson leaves those numbers out when he goes off on his tangent.
Graff explained the money was needed to cover the salaries of five new staff hired last year to investigate the deaths of children in government care. By the way, those five staff members were hired on the approval of the same government MLAs who have now voted against providing the money needed to pay them.Er, wasn't the investigation into the deaths of children in foster care already performed? Once the investigation is performed, what's the purpose of keeping the staff on? To investigate more deaths in foster care? Is Thompson saying that the government, which supposedly has been taking steps to reduce the occurrences through greater transparency, shouldn't be willing to make what should be a symbolic cut to the department?
As for Thompson's "more bad news", it's no surprise that the leftists such as Genia Leskiw who have been infesting the PC Party for years aren't very good at explaining why funding needs to be cut. Why the government turned to her for the explanation is unclear, though the prospect that there were no more right-wingers left in caucus to explain it is frightening.
Bonnyville-Cold Lake MLA Genia Leskiw, who took the lead for the government, didn’t even try to present an argument, opting instead to use passive-aggressive language to browbeat Graff during the committee meeting.Leskiw, who clearly doesn't believe in the 5% cutbacks, isn't even using her leverage here correctly. If Thompson wanted to slam her for that so be it, but instead he gets the entire point of cutting government expenditures wrong:
“MLAs have been taking a five-per-cent cutback,” said Leskiw, referring to the pay reduction an all-party committee (again, dominated by government MLAs) passed at the end of January. “Would the employees from your office be willing to take a five-per-cent cut to serve the youth of Alberta?”
The question is rhetorical, but is nonetheless unfair and loaded. Answering “no” means you’re a greedy worker who doesn’t really want to “serve the youth of Alberta.” Answering “yes” means you want an even greater cut to your office. It also means you buy into the government’s argument that the five-per-cent pay cut is not merely political posturing.Not sure what's "unfair and loaded" about a plan to cut government expenses that involves the politicians themselves taking the same cuts that are being proposed or implemented to other government departments. Part of the Prentice plan, sadly, is too voluntary and ad hoc, leaving writers like Thompson the opportunity to blast the government for daring to be so cold and heartless and yadda yadda yadda. Far-left 630 CHED host Ryan Jesperson called it a "debacle" today. The rhetoric from the left on this is ridiculous, and it misses the key point.
Of course it is. It is designed to give the government cover as it tries to win yet-to-be articulated concessions from public-sector workers
This is money the government doesn't have, and they are not going to spend it on something we don't need.
You can just imagine the government using the same kind of bullying logic to box all kinds of public sector workers into a corner.This is where Thompson completely jumps the shark. Goes off the deep end. Past the point of no return. "Bullying", really? Can you come up with a less pathetic emotionally-tinged buzzword to conceal the fact that the government is talking about cutting an unnecessary service? How pathetic is that?
Thompson then goes to ask what he thinks are a bunch of rhetorical questions. As is typical with this method of column-writing, nothing terrifies him more than answering the questions.
Shouldn’t teachers be willing to take a five-per-cent cut “to serve the youth of Alberta”?Yes, they should be willing to. The youth of Alberta being educated is the purpose of an education system. Employing teachers, or keeping their salaries and benefits well beyond what they deserve, is not. There are entire faculties in universities spitting out more and more graduates every year who apparently have very expensive teaching credentials. The supply far outweighs the demand, so regardless of the government finances, this should be cut.
Shouldn’t nurses take a five-per-cent cut to serve the sick of Alberta? Heck, shouldn’t doctors be willing to take a five-per-cent cut to save the lives of Albertans?Yes and yes. Again, employing nurses and doctors is not what the job of the publicly funded healthcare system is: healing the sick is. If nurses and doctors can have their pay cut to a more reasonable market rate, then they should. One notes that this applies far more to nurses than doctors, but that's probably beside the point. If their dedication to patient care is as high as those disgusting pro-union ads on TV claim, then they won't have a problem with the pay cut. If they are more interested in the money, then if its pure mercantilism then what's wrong with the provincial government -- which let's stress is out of money -- applying the same principle to their bottom line. They are, after all, the employer. By the angry demands of nurses and their far-left union, they are the only game in town. As has been written on this blog before, this was what they wanted, so let's give them the repercussions.
This is a sideshow, surely. We're talking about 2% of a budget that was specifically added a year ago specifically as a one-time event to solve a crisis which Edmonton's second most offensive politician keeps wanting credit for solving. If the Prentice government can't cut a lousy quarter million here, they probably can't cut anything anywhere.
And then Alberta is doomed.