Before politicians start cutting front line services and the staff the provide them, are they prepared to cut some of their own expenditures?
Lets start in the Premier's office where salary expenditures have risen 59% since 2003!
In 2003, the last of the so-called "wasteful" Liberal administration, the salary budget for that office was $981,000. In 2012, the salary budget for that office is $1,670,100. What justifies a $700,000 increase in salaries? Is that sustainable? Is it necessary?
This does not even factor in the sprinkling of quasi-political positions sprinkled throughout Executive Council that might be considered extra staff for the eighth floor.
For example, let us look at the Protocol Division where $263,500 was allocated for salaries in 2011-2012. The small division actually spent $448,400! The budget estimates for 2012-13 are back to a salary allocation of $263,500. Where did the extra money come from? Who was hired? Why? How many little imperceptible stealthy bumps of a couple of hundred thousand dollars in salaries has occurred across government to satisfy a "political need"?
What about the politicians? Surely we could have a more slimmer cabinet and less parliamentary assistants? How can the government justify demanding efficiencies from the professional public service when it has not even considered rolling back political salaries and positions? How about the number of MHA's? Do we really need 48?
How sustainable is the current program of placing political supporters in publicly funded jobs? What is more important, front line services in health care and social services or parliamentary secretaries in departments that all ready have ministers?