Re: Businesses vie to fill Parks Canada vacuum (Jan. 14)
First, the Conservative government takes aim at federal public services and the workers who deliver them. Part of the scheme is to sell service delivery (and in some cases, the actual services) to private companies as part of plans to axe 19,200 workers.
Then, MP Ryan Leef picks up the clarion, defending and promoting the cutbacks in the Yukon, even though he well knows that services don’t exist without the workers to provide them. And now Mr. Leef steps backs in, pretending to do battle on the public’s behalf to rescue the same services he was instrumental in cutting; meanwhile, he is doing everything possible to bring in the private sector.
The Harper government must be jumping for joy, because this is precisely the future envisioned when it began savaging jobs and services last year.
It is difficult to recover services into the public domain after they are sold off, and once they are, the new low becomes a reality, not just for a tourist season or a generation, but for generations to come.
That is part of the reason why citizens in Jasper, for example, are up in arms over the Conservative government’s plans to privatize the Canadian Rockies Hot Springs, including the Miette Hot Springs in Jasper National Park. The same story is being played out in many parks across the country.
When we read that Mr. Leef is now “active in seeking an answer to the Parks cuts question” and “having ongoing discussions with the TIA and with Parks officials in Ottawa,” it gives us concern, not comfort. Like the Harper government, he has no fondness for public services or the workers that deliver them.
The only positive outcome to this fiasco would be an announcement that the Harper government is restoring full funding to Parks Canada. As for Mr. Leef, he might be accomplished at spinning the news, but as an MP, he has been nothing less than a disaster.
Julie Docherty, regional executive vice-president
Lorraine Rousseau, Yukon territorial director
Public Services of Canada, North