Celebrating the public service with a slap in the face

June 10, 2013 CAPE is asking its members to boycott National Public Service Week, which is happening this week. Although we recognize the importance of underlying the achievements of the men and women who make Canada’s public service one of the best in the world, it is difficult for us to associate ourselves with a celebration organized by the same people who are constantly undermining its mission and services.
For example, Treasury Board President Tony Clement sees nothing wrong with taking advantage of the start of National Public Service Week to announce his intention to review the long-term disability and sick leave available to public servants. I would remind Mr. Clement that these are terms and conditions of employment that must be negotiated in collective bargaining. We are prepared to discuss the best way to ensure that public servants who are sick continue to receive income, but it is a matter that must be discussed and negotiated, and the discussion must include consideration of how we might best go about reducing the amount of stress that is increasingly being exerted on our members. Once again, the government continues to demonstrate an uncanny ability to act before it thinks by attacking sick leave rather than asking managers to manage the workplace more effectively. And yet, the Association that represents public service executives sponsored a study several years ago that called the public service “a toxic place to work.”
I am therefore urging all of you to celebrate amongst yourselves the remarkable work you do every day to serve Canadians. As the President of CAPE, I have often witnessed the professionalism and the considerable amount of integrity that exists in the public service. So please accept my thanks for all you have done and will continue to do to preserve the fundamental values of the public service.
Claude Poirier, President, CAPE