The modern concept of public service seems to have gotten twisted round to something more akin to the bad old days when people worked for governments so they could gain an advantage over those who did not.
In days past I’ve had business meetings with deputy ministers at Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and the federal levels and been made to feel like a humble supplicant having to plead my employer’s of industry’s case before my governors.
Tax auditors routinely treat innocent taxpayers like they were cheats. Government clerks in passport or Employment Insurance offices dispense government largesse begrudgingly or with distain, seldom with common courtesy. God forbid your visit should encroach on one of their breaks.
Workers employed by governments and their agencies—and here I include hospitals—receive outlandish wages, well above the industrial average. Switching from one level of government to another recently involved huge severance-like payouts to Ontario tax department workers.
The mere threat to freeze or trim government-paid employee benefits will send the civil service into near revolt to keep their “entitlements” intact.
People join governments to enrich themselves not to serve the public.
Politicians make promises during elections and break them once in office. They thunder and bluster against government misdeeds while in opposition, but adopt the same policies when in government.
They set up public health care systems they do not trust with their own bodies or families, choosing instead to use a foreign system they, at other times, vilify as inferior to ours. They treat our democrat institutions with disdain; they plunder the public coffers and then tell us we need to tighten our belts. Access and influence become their coin of the realm.
Politicians vote themselves fat pay cheques and top-hat pensions. And when many (far too many) senior civil servants and politicians leave their cushy government jobs, they sign back on as “consultants” and lobbyists so they can continue to pillage the public purse.
In my view, the old 80-20 rule applies: 80 per cent of politicians and senior civil servants and executives and consultants of public agencies contribute little to our society and are an unnecessary drain on the public purse; 20 per cent actually contribute in an honest productive way, carrying the rest of the rascals on their proverbial backs.
To the 20 per cent I say “thank you” and offer a proverbial pat on the back; to the 80 per cent I say “screw you” and offer an upturned, extended middle finger.