VANCOUVER, Feb. 21, 2012 /CNW/ - The provincial budget delivered today by Finance Minister Kevin Falcon continues the dismantling of public services begun by Gordon Campbell in 2001.
The budget shows the Clark government wants to eliminate another 2,000 public service jobs over the next three years. Over the seven years between 2008 and 2015 public sector employment will have been reduced by 18 percent.
"British Columbia already has the leanest provincial public sector in Canada. But this government continues to slash," says Darryl Walker, president of the BCGEU.
As B.C.'s population continues to grow many ministries are seeing their budgets frozen, reduced or only slightly increased. Factor in inflation and many ministries are seeing substantial cuts to their funding.
"Important public services are already in crisis. Our seniors are being neglected, developmentally disabled adults and their families are being ignored, our courts and prisons are buckling under backlogs and overcrowding, and our parks system is chronically underfunded. There is nothing in today's budget to make meaningful improvements to our public services and they will continue to deteriorate," says Walker.
The BCGEU was shocked to learn today that the government plans to sell its Liquor Distribution warehouse and service to the private sector and is calling on the government to clarify its intentions. Today's budget mistakenly states government has "recently announced" the planned sale although no announcement has been made.
"Today's budget is going to further undermine important public services that people rely on, eliminate thousands of good jobs, and will drive up B.C.'s unemployment rate which is already the highest in western Canada," says Walker. "This province needs an economic vision that provides opportunities for our young people, services for families and seniors, and that begins to close the widening income gap we see everyday. This budget does none of these things."
For further information:
Evan Stewart, Communications Officer (604) 220-3095.