Bob The Canadian Civil Servant

Posted 79 days ago on March 16, 2004

The Internet is an amazing thing. Sometimes, I stay up way too late, just browsing and reading, learning, laughing, and at times like this, outright guffawing – and growing angry at how my tax dollars get spent.

While doing some research on policing, I came across this article, written by Bob Chartier, and posted on the Government of Canada website. It seems to be an attempt at uplifting the self esteem of public servants.

Let’s examine it paragraph by paragraph:

Paragraph 1:

“I am a public servant. In the 30 years of my career, there have been more times than I would care to admit when I was not very comfortable saying that out loud, much less in print. However, like everyone lately, my world has been rocked. The embassy bombings, the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City and the Sept. 11 images of public servants – police officers and firefighters – running towards the horror instead of away from it will stay with us forever. I have had to recognize that many terrorists target governments and, as we know, public servants are the front line of governance.”

Well Bob, I’m not sure exactly what your point is – but it seems that you may be claiming especially in your last sentence, that somehow public servants are more at risk in terrorist attacks than non public servants. You don’t have to recognize any such thing about what terrorists target. You obviously don’t know much about terrorism, do you?

Paragraph 2:

“For years, public servants struggled with a “poor cousin” image in the workplace. It was insinuated that the brightest and the best would always go into the private sector. The rest of us, for many different reasons, made the decision to spend our lives teaching your kids hooking up your intravenous, protecting your border, checking the maintenance record on the aircraft taking you to Cancun and responding to 911 calls.”

Generally speaking, the brightest and the best have gone into the private sector, Bob. Sorry this bothers you so much. Hooking up an intravenous isn’t such a hard task, our border hasn’t needed defending in almost 200 years (and that was done by mostly volunteers), and any darn fool can check a maintenance record.

Paragraph 3:

“Oh, we have heard your snickers over the years.”

Snickers? Look, Bob. There is professional help for low self esteem problems. (I can’t believe that my tax dollars were wasted publishing this drivel on the Government’s website).

Pargraph 4:

“We have heard your comments about road crews leaning on their shovels, striking nurses, mindless clerks processing paper, lazy teachers and cops in doughnut shops. And this was the tame stuff. I believe it’s time to rethink our views on public service. First of all, understand that we do the things no one else really wants to do and that there is no real money in it. Try to buy police services from a street vendor. What price would the market pay to find an illegal immigrant? Ask a major private-sector company to write a new fair-trade policy. Try to shop around for a good deal on a passport.”

Whoa, Bob! There’s a lot of stuff to answer in this one. Let’s see if we can work through this… Bob, dear Bob.. haven’t you seen road crews leaning on their shovels? Haven’t you seen striking nurses? Do you have any kids, Bob, in the public school system? You know.. that have such crappy teachers, but nothing can be done about it? Haven’t you read the reports about our police officers’ abuses of power all across this country? You don’t think those are worthwhile topics of discussion for taxpayers to discuss? Yes.. I’m beginning to see something here, Bob. Something to do with the brightest and best not being in the public service.

No real money in what you do? Oh, do you ever have that one right! It’s stolen money, Bob. Money taken from citizens with the threat of force should they refuse to pay up or have no need for your services.

And hey, Bob… have you ever tried to buy an A. Y. Jackson original from a street vendor? That’s supposed to be an arguement against private policing? While we’re on the topic of policing – ever had an emergency and had to call the cops? How long did it take them to get there?

New fair-trade policies? Gosh Bob.. have you ever taken any economics classes? Heck Bob, I come up with fair trade policies every single day in my business. Plus, I have to work in the tax that pays your wages. Good deals on passports? Have you ever had to stand in line for one?

Paragraph 5:

“The private-enterprise capitalist system is fine by me. It is adept at doing those things it is supposed to do, but it can’t do it all. When it comes to writing good policy on parole violations, we don’t freelance the contract, we ask a public servant with a weighty academic background, a wealth of experience and an ear to the street to compose it. When we need protection, high standards in our goods, food and water, we again look to the public servant. Whoa, let’s stop right there. On that water thing. You’re right. We have Walkerton and North Battleford to consider. I grew up in North Battleford and, as a working government guy, I was appalled that, for decades, city workers there drew drinking water a kilometre downstream from the spot they dumped the sewage. Let’s be honest. Public servants make mistakes. Big ones, little ones and some really stupid ones. But so does the private sector. Our trouble, as public servants, is that our mistakes can cause a lot more grief.”

Bob, Bob, Bob. Do you think you could re-write this paragraph? I mean, you’re really being silly here. This is the biggest bunch of trash I’ve read in a long time, other than the article on capitalism on a Marxist website. But besides all that, it’s obvious you haven’t really been listening to tax payers, who are sick and tired of weighty academic types writing crap that means nothing in reality. I’m wondering if you could name me one person that you know of, that has all three qualifications: A weighty academic background, a wealth of experience, and an ear to the street. Some public servant?

To be honest with you Bob, you’re kind of protection sucks. And believe me… I know a little of what I’m talking about, having had both my ‘ear to the street’ and a ‘wealth of experience’.

Paragraph 6:

“It is true, we are notorious for our red tape, our obsession with paper and our slowness. But we are working really hard. We can and will be just as fast, as effective and as quality-minded as the private sector, even more. We have many masters, however, and sometimes when we try to cut the red tape we get beat up for what is then called a lack of accountability. It’s always hard for us to know whom we really serve – politicians or citizens. But I believe we can serve both and do it with accountability and effectiveness.”

Bob, you might want to meditate a while on an old proverb, “No man can serve two masters.” You’re paid by citizens, Bob. Without productive citizens, you wouldn’t have a paycheque. Listen to us, Bob. Politicians come and go. You’ve been around for 30 years, you claim. Only an unprincipled person who doesn’t know their values, can attempt to serve two masters for 30 years.

Paragraph 7:

“So what have we got here? Well, we have jobs that have no market value. We are under constant public scrutiny. We get paid what citizens, not the market, think we are worth and we provide always essential but often hidden services. And most of us really like our work. We love your kids, we feel for you in the intensive-care unit, we want to find the bad guys and we are driven to develop policy that reflects Canadian values.”

Actually, Bob.. you get paid because your Union and Government holds citizens up for ransom. For a guy that talks about people with their ‘ears to the street’, it seems you’ve just been listening to the snickers, and haven’t bothered to listen to the substance. Are you for real, man?

If your jobs have no market value, then why the heck do they exist? Do you understand anything about markets? Yes.. that statement about the brightest and best is starting to ring true again…

You have no love for my kids whatsoever, Bob. You don’t them, you have no idea about their character, and you’ve never met them. This is an absolute lie you’re telling us here. You have a cushy job, with a nice pension that’s better than what the majority of Canadians will ever receive. And it’s Canadians that are paying for it, Bob. Stop with the crap already. You don’t want to develop policy that reflects Canadian values – you want to change individuals’ values through policy, legislation and force. Now I’m not snickering anymore. I’m becoming downright angry that my tax money goes to pay your salary, Bob.

The Last Paragraph:

“Public servants may now feel even more like a target for evil, but they will go to work every day. They will be here for us, the first to run into the trouble and to lead in the rebuilding. The war on terrorism will not be fought in the market, it will be defended at the border, in policy-making decisions on privacy and in the day by day readiness of emergency workers. And that is why I serve the public with pride.”

Bob, it is the Tyrant that is evil. It is the tyrant that is taking away liberties from citizens and residents of this country. You are helping that tyrant. I, Bob, am not evil. I am a productive person in this country. I produce services and products. I am taxed to support you, Bob. My criticism and snickering at folk like you is not evil. Your lies about love, lies about economics, lies about essential services and how they can be provided, lies about terrorist targets, is what is evil, Bob. Terrorism could easily be fought by the market where it would never exist. It is insane government policy drafted by beurocrats and weighty academic types that promote terrorism, Bob. You really have no clue about terrorism. Your master’s policy about my privacy, and how little of it I’m entitled to, will have nothing to do with the elimination of terrorism.

Bob, you may be proud, but you serve a tyrant. And I am very angry that tax dollars have been spent on publishing your pathetic lying article.

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