Dumped: Public sector sours on Trudeau

Hell hath no fury like a union scorned

“Prime Minister Trudeau: You said you’d be different.”

That’s the mournful cry now coming from the offices of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. Like a jilted lover, PSAC is imploring Trudeau to “make good on (his) word” to “fix public services and repair the relationship with the workers who deliver them.”

This week, the union representing the bulk of the federal public service launched a nationwide ad campaign accusing the new government of behaving much like the old: not reversing planned changes to sick leave and benefits policies, not fixing the problems with the Phoenix pay system, and not increasing program funding fast enough.

Why the disillusionment? Well, just prior to last year’s federal election, Trudeau penned an open letter to beleaguered federal bureaucrats. “I have a fundamentally different view than Stephen Harper of our public service. Where he sees an adversary, I see a partner. I believe that in order to have a public service that is valued by Canadians, and a source of pride for its members, it must be valued by its government.”

Public servants saw visions of Nirvana-on-the-Rideau, where funding flows abundantly and scientists run free. And after Trudeau’s election, they didn’t hesitate to express their joy. When the new PM toured the Foreign Affairs building, workers mobbed him, applauding and cheering as if they had just been released from a gulag. They hugged him and his ministers. They booed a reporter asking a question critical of the government. According to CBC News, “one longtime staffer nearby said he’d never seen anything like it. Not in all of his years.”

One year on, the shine is off the selfie. No one’s breaking up just yet, but the fact that PSAC is going public with its grievances — employing tactics similar to those it used against the Harper government — is a shot across the prime minister’s bow, a warning that its support should not have been taken for granted.

Read the full article on iPolitics.

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