We have been to this movie before, under the NDP government. As a prologue, we have had an array of studies from Ivany to Broten with many in between. Will this one have a happier ending?

Public Sector Wage Restraint: The NDP caved in with its last public sector contract, giving unaffordable increases that greatly exceeded what was happening in the private sector. A case could be made for a wage freeze, which the premier has already rejected. Increases should not exceed one per cent per year. That outcome should be announced now for management and other non-union employees. And, of course, elected members should lead by example.

Civil Servants: As argued by AIMS and others, the number needs to be reduced. This will only happen if the government has specific plans to simplify or eliminate activities, and can identify the particular departments where savings are to be achieved. Proposals to achieve reductions through retirements and turnover never work because on their own they do not address how the workload can be reduced proportionately.

Article originally published in April 3 Chronicle Herald.