I am disturbed by the Yukonomist’s assumptions and generalizations in his column of March 24, “One picture worth a thousand economic words.”
The two Outside analysts that he quotes about numbers of public servants per 1,000 population are both listed as conservative right-wing think tanks. They use numbers from Statistics Canada but they do not give a neutral picture. Mr. Halliday admits that his calculation of the number of public sector employees per 1,000 population includes all levels of government including First Nations in the territory, which is not the case with the think tanks. He falsely concludes that we have numbers “nearly double” the provinces when the provinces’ statistics are based on different data. That’s comparing apples and oranges as any good economist should know.
He goes on to malign the process of governing with policy analysts and “spin doctors,” suggesting that the crisis in mental health could have been averted by eliminating those positions. Again he uses a false comparison based on a shaky opinion.
After stirring up his readers with illogical conclusions and assumptions, not reliable information, Mr. Halliday assumes that there is a consensus in the Yukon that we have too much government involvement in the economy and that we want to encourage non-governmental companies and organizations. His final assumption is that “having a broad range of independent organizations is probably healthier for society in the long run than having a monolithic Yukon government so completely dominate (sic) in the economy.” Despite beginning the column with a reliance on statistics, he comes to this conclusion without providing any proof.
Of the five examples he uses where he believes there ought to be more private involvement, the two that are most disturbing are the Whistle Bend continuing care facility and social and retirement housing. He admits that private organizations are not always more efficient and innovative than government, but “often are.” He adds that a broad range of independent organizations is ”probably healthier for society.” Those baseless opinions are not supported by any data and are used to support an argument that already has false dichotomies.
I have long suspected that the territorial government has become enamoured with public/private partnerships in the health field and Mr. Halliday is now championing them for Yukon seniors. I challenge Mr. Halliday to come out clearly with his hidden agenda. He needs to research the disasterous results of for-profit P3s in the provinces with much higher costs and poor service. Then he needs to write a economics column that is based on data and facts, not assumptions and generalizations that support a partisan bias.