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What we need in Canada today is not division, or hatred, or demonization and the vilification of the public service and their representatives.
What we need is understanding to embrace our differences; to work together to create a prosperous nation for all and not the few.
We need a nation that ensures that the gap between the haves and the have-nots does not continue to widen. We need a nation that protects its most vulnerable citizens.
We need a nation that understands the importance of public services, and respects those who answer the call of public service.
We need leadership that contributes to all these needs and does not hide behind clever statements that disguise hidden agendas. We need leadership that values honesty and transparency over vindictiveness and the demonization of selective segments of our population such as unions.
As financial officers employed in the federal government, we are part of those who provide public services to Canadians. Each of you goes to work and contributes your skills toward making Canada a nation that meets the needs of its citizens.
The demographics of Public Service employees have changed over that last twenty years. It has become more professional. In the FI group alone, we have seen the professional qualifications held by our membership more than double.
Many statements have been made about the average salary of a public servant, yet very little said about the increased demand for professional qualifications. In today’s marketplace for talent, employers are forced to compete for a limited pool of subject matter experts. To compare this new demographic of highly-qualified public servants to the 1960s era pools of typist and clerical paper processors is to compare apples and oranges. Times have changed, and so has the makeup of the Public Service.
Those who wish to distort this reality are motivated by ideology; without care for the needs of Canadians who depend on front-line government services.
The public service is a noble calling. Many of you have passed up lucrative opportunities in the private sector in order to fulfill your desire to contribute to the public good. In return, you deserve from your employer respect, fair compensation, and the ability to apply your craft freely.
With this in mind, the Association has recently joined Public Service International (PSI), a global federation of public sector unions which campaigns on behalf of 20 million workers to ensure public services are adequately resourced, with well trained workers delivering quality services.
Our membership in PSI provides ACFO access to a greater body of knowledge, and the opportunity to engage in best-practises and share strategy development with organizations who share our challenges and objectives.
These are challenging times. It is important that ACFO takes a proactive approach in protecting the interest of our members. The Association is committed to removing obstacles that hinder your ability to contribute to establishing a fiscal framework that is a standard for other nations to follow.
Milt Isaacs, CMA, CPFA
President, Association of Canadian Financial Officers