Last night, on Voice of BC, we opined, "The provincial government, at the current moment in time, seems to be of two opinions concerning what to do with the provincial civil service. On one hand, they want to maintain and bolster the morale of existing bureaucrats and recruit talented new people into the bureaucracy. But, on the other hand, they've made it quite clear that reducing the number of civil servants is actually going to be part of their plan to balance the budget." But Liberal House Leader Mike de Jong took issue with that opinion.
"I think it's unfortunate that someone who, generally speaking, observes what is taking place would misconstrue or come to the kind of conclusions that Sean has, by virtue of that question," said Minister de Jong.
"Now, look, these are difficult economic times," he continued. "But that's why the premier's deputy went to the head of the union representing the public service and said, 'How can we work together to minimize any impact on jobs?' A very good discussion developed around, 'Well, maybe we can do something around voluntary holiday time so people aren't going to lose their jobs.'"
Yet, in a recent email to bureaucrats, the premier's deputy minister Jessica McDonald stated, "We continue to believe (staff reassignments) will help us significantly reduce the potential for layoffs. I want to reinforce that we still expect that the number of regular and auxiliary employees ultimately affected will be less than five per cent of the public service."
And that second sentence suggests such layoffs are a certainty rather than a possibility.