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If Ontario is having financial problems, why are most Public Service managers getting a bonus?
- M E D I A R E L E A S E -
“If everybody gets pay for performance, it’s not pay for performance, it’s pay, I think we need to revisit the whole concept of pay for performance, given our fiscal reality.”
Those are not the words of an opposition leader in Ontario; those are the words of Dalton McGuinty who was criticizing his own government’s policies on bonuses. The fiscal reality he mentions is two credit rating agency downgrades for Ontario, a ballooning debt, and a deficit he does not seem able to reduce.
One reason for the deficit, apparently 98% of eligible managers in the Ontario Public Service received bonuses last year, despite the McGuinty Liberal’s assurances that they are serious about freezing pay in the broader public sector. But the facts tell a different story. Some 8,700 of 8,900 eligible civil servants received bonus performance pay in 2011, costing the provincial treasury $35.6 million. That is an indication of just how serious McGuinty is about reducing the $15 billion deficit.
The story came to light earlier this week when Greg Reed, the CEO of eHealth, declined an $81,250 bonus. When asked about this story, Allen Small, Leader of the Ontario Libertarian Party said: “You have to give this guy credit for having integrity. That bonus is more money than most Ontarians earn in a year and he already gets an annual salary of $329,000.” Deputy Party Leader and Libertarian candidate in the Vaughan by-election, Paolo Fabrizio remarked: “the eHealth disaster goes back to the first days of McGuinty’s government, 9 years, and they still haven’t got it right. That would be absolutely intolerable in the private sector.”
EHealth was supposed to establish a system of electronic health records, to assist patients and doctors alike, that would introduce efficiencies to the system and save billions of dollars. It’s done the exact opposite. In the early days, it was called the Smart Systems for Health Agency, which was cancelled because it was shown to be a waste of money. EHealth was born as the son of Smart Systems, but it wasn’t long after eHealth began in 2008, that the Ontario auditor general called it a billion dollar boondoggle. It’s still less than 70% complete, yet Greg Reed was offered a bonus.
If McGuinty was serious about reducing the cost of government he would take some advise from Ontario Libertarians. We would freeze all government spending at current levels and allow no bonuses. We would stop all hiring and do a systematic reduction in the public sector work force by reducing or eliminating certain ministries and agencies whose responsibilities can better be achieved by the private sector.
The Ontario Libertarian Party has been a registered political party since 1975. We advocate free markets, property rights, limited government, and voluntary interactions within communities between individuals and groups.