The Conservative MYTH Of 'Smaller Government' FAILS
$tephen Harper will tell you that Conservatives are all about lower spending and smaller governments.
The Harper administration has brought in the largest deficit budgets in Canadian history. This year, Harper is spending $55.6-billion more than is coming in as tax revenue. So much for that myth.
Harper has also grown the size of the Canadian government to record levels. He will tell you that it is because of an increase in the size of the military and the police. That is FAR from the real story.
It even looks like some on the Right are struggling with the 'myth' as well. But don't take my word for it .. here's the Edmonton Journal:
"Although Harper recently conceded he's increased spending and jobs, he defended the growth.
"This government has been expanding the size of the military," Harper recently told the CBC. "We've expanded, hired more police officers."
He added that his government has also shored up product-and consumer-safety laws, and bolstered its inspection powers.
***** But it's not the entire story. *****
Over the five years that the Conservative government has been in power, public documents show that the Canadian Forces have added 7,754 people to their regular forces and reserves. That's an expansion of 8.7 per cent, bringing the total to 96,675 people at the end of the 2009-10 fiscal year.
In the final year of Paul Martin's Liberal government, 2005-06, the Canadian Forces tally was 88,921.
Over the Harper years, the number of RCMP officers has increased more than 16 per cent to 24,445.
And employment in the departments receiving funding for federal food-and consumer-safety initiatives, Harper's other stated priority, also grew slightly. Health Canada added the equivalent of 1,212 full-time jobs (called FTEs), while the Canadian Food Inspection Agency added 833. The Public Health Agency of Canada brought in another 757 people, and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research added 72.
But defying conventional thinking about Conservative devotion to smaller government, there also was growth beyond these priority areas.
The number of civilian employees of National Defence and the RCMP -- excluding the military members and police officers already counted -- grew by 33,023 people, slightly more than 13 per cent, over five years.
Relative to the growth in Canadian population under the Harper government, the federal public service grew by 7.8 per cent.
Some departments grew even faster than the prime minister's priorities. For example:
- Human Resources and Skills Development Canada increased its FTEs by more than 8,000, a growth of 47 per cent.
- Canada Border Services Agency took on nearly 2,662 FTEs (22-percent growth).
- Indian Affairs got 1,280 (32-percent growth).
- Citizenship and Immigration added 969 (28-per-cent growth).
"There were several years of relatively slow growth in the public service, years ago," said Finn Poschmann, a research executive at the C.D. Howe Institute, a conservative-leaning think-tank. "So rebuilding the public service was necessary. But the pace of growth is obviously unsustainable."
Hiring, however, is only one measure of government growth.
Federal program spending during Martin's final year in power -- 2005-06 -- stood at $175 billion. By 2009-10 under Harper, it had climbed to $245 billion."
The Edmonton Journal