Going south, with no return ticket

Any country whose government is her largest employer is bound to fail.

That rule of thumb seems to be lost on Canadian propagandists who have been trumpeting forth lately that Canada’s job market has been recovering nicely, despite all of the hurdles posed by all sorts of pandemics and similar catastrophes.

Canada’s federal government have been on record as saying, with unjustified pride, that they employ the most people of all sectors of the country’s economic life.

That, in and of itself, is a horrible admission to make: government employees, known also as public service employees, haven’t been known as the most efficient, effective and useful segment of any job market. Even those who produce something other than hot air and paper-shuffling charades don’t belong to the most productive parts of society.

The reason is overwhelmingly simple: Economics 101 has proven that governments have no business being in business other than governing.

Here’s why: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

This is how British economist Cyril Northcote Parkinson opened his immortal work, Parkinson’s Law: The Pursuit of Progress. It first appeared in the British newsmagazine The Economist in 1955, would become a highly successful and widely read book in 1958, and the author has made it known that the volume’s content is based on his own experience in the British civil service. Its conclusions have been on the mark since day one of their publication.

Anyone who thinks Canada’s (or any other country’s, for that matter) public service differs from that described by Parkinson, should start thinking again.

Strange numbers

Which brings us back full circle to the news of Canada’s recent job market developments.

Following up on the news about the country’s speedy recovery, the Fraser Institute checked the figures out without StatsCan (and other government) interference. They found a minor glitch of major proportions: nearly 9 in 10 jobs created between 2020 and 2021 were in the public sector.

A few figures of note: the public sector saw a 9.4 per cent job growth between February 2020 and July 2022, while private sector’s growth was as minimal as to be meaningless: 0.4 percentage points.

In actual job numbers: Canada’s economy added 366,800 jobs to the mix, but only 56,100 were in the private sector. Government jobs constituted 50.7 per cent of all jobs in Canada in 2020 (leaving 49.3 per cent for the private sector) before the so-called pandemic. Now we have 51.8 per cent of employed people working for government, and 48.2 in private sector.

The numbers continue to be telling: Canada’s economy shrank by 16 per cent during the artificially induced panic, kicking some three million out of work and sending the unemployment rate from 5.7 per cent all the way to 13 per cent.

Every economic indicator points to the devastating effect of various Canadian governments’ mandates imposed on the population.

Add to it the harm caused by the capricious orders (all government employees must be vaccinated or else lose their jobs, despite the growing evidence of the devastating effects these concoctions have on previously perfectly healthy people).

Still, the number of government employees has grown.

Even the most recent unemployment numbers aren’t encouraging, despite the governments’ frantic recruitment efforts.

Why’s that?

Government jobs, as mentioned, add little if anything to the country’s economy. They mostly involve pushing paper and coming up with new and newer and newest regulations that interfere with both the private sector and with individual Canadians’ lives.

Making sure everybody is obedient is the next step, and that requires even more government hires.

One question remains unanswered: and who, pray, guards the guardians themselves? This is a millennia old question, first recorded by the Roman poet Juvenal in Latin as Quis custodiet ipsos custodes. They obviously had that issue even then. For the record: Juvenal first used it when dealing with marital infidelities, but still, the question remains with us even today.

Killer tradition still looms

Why is this question relevant today?

Public servants have formed all kinds of union-style associations through the years of their more or less faithful service. These groups, much too regularly for the country’s economic health, engage in collective bargaining. Let’s leave aside the general question of such unions’ usefulness these days. Let’s ignore the suggestion that the concept has gone way past its best-before date.

Let’s look at the rhetoric, instead. Whenever these associations engage in such contract negotiations (disputes, mostly), they speak of their disagreements with their employer. They don’t name the particular government. They leave it at the most general form: employer.

Here’s the issue: governments are NOT their employer. Taxpayers are. This happens to be THE major point that they seem to have never learnt.

Of course, why should they? They’ve got used to the fact that they form the majority of Canada’s workplace, a fact not many dare question.

And while this country lay in increasing mounts of economic ruin, her high school substitute drama teacher cum Prime Minister causes another major international embarrassment, belting out the rock anthem, Bohemian Rhapsody, at a wake inside a fashionably expensive London hotel, remembering the late Queen Elizabeth II.

What a prospect!

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