'We're not all in this together': Politicians and bureaucrats profit while local businesses suffer, new report finds

The latest report from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation shows that while local businesses have been crushed during the pandemic, the public sector grows and government workers continue to receive generous pay raises.

'We're not all in this together': Politicians and bureaucrats profit while local businesses suffer, new report finds
The Canadian Press / Adrian Wyld
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Local businesses and the average working Canadian have been crushed over the past two years, with the vast majority struggling to survive. But when it comes to Canada's public sector — the politicians and bureaucrats who depend upon Canadian tax dollars to pay their salaries — business has never been better.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) released a new report Monday detailing how Canada's public sector has thrived over the past two years amidst harsh lockdowns and unforgiving government mandates. The report reveals that 528,347 federal and provincial government employees received a pay raise during the pandemic, while no government at any level reduced employee pay.

“We’re not all in this together,” said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director with the CTF. “We’ve seen a tale of two pandemics: one full of private sector pain and the other full of financial gain for bureaucrats and politicians.”

The details of these government raises included pay increases of 6.64% for administrative bureaucrats, federal police constables who "will see their maximum salary jump from $86,110 as of April 2016 to $106,576 next year" and more federal workers making six-figure salaries than ever before.

Canada's politicians also gave themselves generous pay raises, adding several thousand dollars to their salaries over the course of the pandemic. The "COVID-19 pay raise" for politicians amounted to salary increases of $6,900 for members of Parliament and senators (from $178,900 to $185,800), $10,100 for ministers (from $264,400 to $274,500) and $13,800 for the prime minister himself (from $357,800 to $371,600). MPs are also set to give themselves another pay raise on April 1, 2022.

On that topic, the report noted:

While Canada’s members of Parliament pocketed two pay raises during the pandemic, politicians in other countries showed solidarity with their taxpayers and took a pay cut. “We acknowledge New Zealanders who are reliant on wage subsidies, taking pay cuts, and losing their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic,” said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “I can confirm that myself and government ministers and public service chief executives will take a 20 per cent pay cut for the next six months.” The CTF has identified at least 30 jurisdictions where politicians took pay cuts at some point during the pandemic.

The report further reveals how Canada's bureaucracies have ballooned as of late, with the public sector adding hundreds of thousands of new government jobs over the past two years, while private sector jobs — the ones that actually contribute to Canada's economy — have disappeared.

Says the report:

Canadians face a higher tax burden to pay for more government employees. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there are now 306,800 more government jobs across Canada, according to Statistics Canada data. Of those new government jobs, 111,800 are “public administration” employees. In stark contrast, there has been 66,300 net job losses outside of government between February 2020 and December 2021, according to Statistics Canada. This government bureaucrat surge follows years of increases. The federal bureaucracy has increased by 56,905 employees since 2017, which means the federal government has added more than 14,000 employees per year.

“Many Canadians outside of government took a pay cut, lost their job or business, and it’s not fair to ask them to pay higher taxes so bureaucrats and politicians can collect bigger paycheques,” said Terrazzano. “Politicians and bureaucrats need to help shoulder some of the burden by reversing these pandemic pay hikes.”

The report comes as Canada also experiences record-high levels of government spending, money printing and inflation, and as supply chain chaos continues to unfold across Canada and the world.

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  • By Ezra Levant

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