The Harper government has been slashing government spending. But, if you take Deep Throat's advice, and follow the money -- to where it's spent and not spent -- Gregory Thomas writes that you get a real portrait of who these people are:
Despite the Harper government’s avowed objective to reduce the federal public service by 19,000 positions, the ranks of communications staff have grown by 163 since the Conservatives took office, while costs have risen by $48 million.
The combined payroll of federal spin doctors rivals the $329-million payroll of the House of Commons, the beating heart of our democracy, the institution we rely upon to keep hundreds of thousands of federal officials accountable.
But the avowed objective of the communications staff is to make sure that the government is not held accountable:
Now, $263 million might be a reasonable price to pay — it might even be a bargain — if the federal government actually provided Canadians with public information in a timely manner.
But anybody who has actually tried to phone or email someone in the federal government in order to get an answer to a question knows that this is not the case.
The days when federal government officials would return the telephone calls of Canadians, or even better, answer their phones, are rapidly fading memories.
Canadians are seeing a quarter-billion dollars of their money used against them: not to provide them with information, but rather to delay, conceal and spin the information to enhance the image of the party in power.
We can't afford to keep Veterans Affairs offices open. But we can afford propaganda from the Ministry of Truth. The title of this show is The Princes (and Princesses) of Hot Air.