So let me see if I have this straight.
The Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation, which prides itself on being the fists-up, fang-baring defender of downtrodden taxpayers, has its knickers righteously twisted because the province says it can save taxpayers $4.7-million a year…
Uh… this does not compute.
Or perhaps it does.
Some background. Nova Scotia’s Transportation Department believes private companies are over-charging—by up to 50 per cent—for roadwork in some rural areas because there was no, or little competition.
The short version: they were profiteering because they could.
So the Transportation Department decided to get back into the business—to provide competition in places where there wasn’t any, save taxpayer bucks and have more funds to do more roadwork on more roads.
The wounded howls from the Nova Scotia Road Builders Association—some of whose members, one would assume, had happily licked that honey pot—were predictable.
So too was the predictably Pavlovian, “government-bad” response of the so-called Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation.
Instead of upbraiding the road builders for ripping off taxpayers, the Federation hopped into bed with them, then snuggled up close.
It accused government of “colluding” with its highway workers’ union because the department had asked the union in advance how its new public paving scheme might affect the collective agreement. Sounds prudent to me. (When government talks with corporate lobbyists, the Federation calls it “consulting,” and thinks it’s a fine idea.)
It also attacked highway workers personally. The Federation claimed private sector flag workers earn $12 an hour—probably even if their employer has inflated a bid—while a public sector flag person sucks up a bloated $16 an hour from the public teat.
But let’s ask ourselves: what’s so bad about that?
Perhaps the still-hardly-rich flag worker will use her extra $4 extra to buy groceries or school supplies locally, not to forget contributing a few thousand extra in taxes to the public good.
Compare that with what might happen to the bloated profits a paving company can skim from uncompetitive bidding, which is as likely to be spent on a Caribbean cruise as school supplies, and more likely to be sheltered from the tax man.
Thanks for nothing, Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation.