Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Atlantic Region Facing Disproportionate Share of Federal Jobs Cuts: Study

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Atlantic Region Facing Disproportionate Share of Federal Jobs Cuts: Study

Article excerpt

Report highlights fed job cuts in Atlantic

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HALIFAX - A new study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says Atlantic Canada will suffer a disproportionate blow as the federal government continues implementing job cuts announced in March.

The left-leaning think-tank predicted Tuesday that 4,400 full-time jobs will be lost in the region by March 2015 -- about nine per cent of the region's federal workforce, not including Crown corporations.

The report says that's unfair because the Harper government has promised to cut only 4.8 per cent of the entire federal public service, which includes about 400,000 employees.

However, the centre says hard numbers are difficult to come by because Ottawa has released very little information since announcing its plans.

"There's a real lack of transparency and accountability," said Christine Saulnier, co-author of the report and director of the centre's Nova Scotia wing.

"We put in a request to Treasury Board and we got back a letter asking for money. We have yet to see any information from that request."

Saulnier said the group contacted 30 regional directors within the Atlantic bureaucracy to collect data, but only four consented to be interviewed.

The centre says that more than 2,100 federal workers in the region have already received notices telling them their jobs could be affected, but it remains unclear how many have actually lost their jobs.

The Conservative government has said it will cut 19,200 jobs over the next three years with about 37 per cent to be eliminated through attrition. But the centre says its research suggests the actual number will be much higher, given the budget-cutting targets already on the table.

Andrea Mandel-Campbell, a spokeswoman for Treasury Board president Tony Clement, issued a statement saying the centre's report was "bunk."

"We have always said that every region will retain its proportion of federal jobs and that remains the case," she said in an email.

"The CCPA is not a non-partisan, independent think-tank, but a tool of the NDP used to sow political division and misinformation. It's obviously a biased report and huge union influence is proof of that. …

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