After weeks of speculation, Clement's axe has begun to fall. According to Bill Curry of the Globe and Mail (read article here), "[t]hirteen federal organizations promised in the 2011 budget to cut a combined $2.6 billion over three years under a strategic program called strategic review". Yesterday, cuts to Public Works (687 jobs), the Treasury Board (19 jobs), Fisheries and Oceans (approximately 275 jobs), the Bank of Canada (80 to 95 jobs), Environment Canada (50 jobs) and the National Gallery (5 jobs) were reported. And this is just the beginning.
Luckily for the soon to be unemployed federal public servants the political party of 'austerity' and 'small government' appears to have a plan to replace their jobs - they have a prison for that. In 2010, the projected budget for the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) was $2.46 billion (read here, p. 11). The projected full-time equivalent staffing allocation was 16,587 employees (ibid). According to this year's edition of CSC's Report on Plans and Priorities (read here), the projected budget for CSC is $2.98 billion (up 21.2 percent from 2010-2011 projections, p. 7), while the projected full-time equivalent staffing allocation is 20,408 employees (up 23 percent from 2010-2011 projections).
These figures do not signal the beginning nor the end of rising budgets and staffing levels in this federal government penal porkfolio. Since the Liberals left office, CSC's annual budget has increased 86.7 percent from $1.597 billion in 2005-2006. By 2012-2013, expenditures in this area are projected to rise to $3.178 billion before it modestly declines to $3.147 billion in 2013-2014. Under the Conservatives, CSC's annual staffing allocation has increased 39.2 percent from 14,663 full-time equivalent employees in 2005-2006. By 2012-2013, it is projected that there will be 21,713 full-time equivalent staff working for CSC. Close to another 350 jobs in Canada's penitentiary system will be available in 2013-2014 where 22,061 staff are set to be employed.
This is not small government, but a different kind of big government. It is another step towards the replacement of what conservative commentators call a 'nanny state' with a 'daddy state' that has a belt ready in case his citizen children step out of line. This is what 'austerity' looks like in Ottawa under the Conservatives and it's going to hurt in more ways than one. It is not only a costly, harmful, ineffective and unjust approach to addressing the complex harms and conflicts that we call 'crime', but also to governance more generally.
THE NUMBERS - CANADA'S FEDERAL PENITENTIARY SYSTEM
CSC Budget Allocation (millions)
2005-2006 revised (under the Liberals): $1,597.2
2006-2007 projected and revised: $1,709.4 ($1,709.3)
2007-2008 projected and revised: $1,870.0
2008-2009 projected and revised: $2,174.2 ($2,296.7)
2009-2010 projected and revised: $2,204.5 ($2,267.2)
2010-2011 projected and revised: $2,460.2 ($2,467.5)
2011-2012 projected: $2,981.9
2012-2013 projected: $3,178.2
2013-2014 projected: $3,147.5
CSC Capital Expenditures (millions)
2005-2006 revised (under the Liberals): $138.2
2006-2007 projected and revised: $162 ($161.9)
2007-2008 projected and revised: $153.7
2008-2009 projected and revised: $263.6
2009-2010 projected and revised: $230.8 ($246.8)
2010-2011 projected and revised: $329.4 ($277.3)
2011-2012 projected: $517.6
2012-2013 projected: $466.9
2013-2014 projected: $385.8