“Change government`s culture”–this is the new buzz phrase of business spokespersons at the pre-budget consultations happening across this province in January and February.
Fine representatives of the private sector are telling us our provincial government has too many employees, pays them too much, and spends like drunken sailors on public services and programs, such as health care, education, roads, etc. In summary, government is not efficient. Their solution? Government must learn a lesson from the private sector book and adopt the private sector culture.
Wow! Now what is this miracle private sector culture they are talking about? This private sector miracle culture is based on making a profit. The profit goes into the pockets of individual business persons and shareholders. To work properly, it needs hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of public dollars in subsidies, grants and forgivable loans. It needs public money for research and development. It demands public money to promote its products and services in the province and around the world. It tries to dismantle public institutions and take over the juiciest parts. It needs low labour and environmental deregulations. No red tape of course. It needs to be bailed-out when it is inefficient and fails. And then, the most important aspect of this miracle culture is its foundation in simple and unguarded greed.
Let us remember that this so-called miracle culture promoted by these high priests of the private sector has brought us the 2008 economic crisis. It brought part of the world economy to a halt. It cost citizens around the world hundreds of billions of dollars. It has cost the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of individuals and families. And now these guys are at stakeholders meeting (public meeting are too plebeian for them), telling us the provincial government needs to adopt their culture. What are they taking us for?