Some decisions warrant questioning

Sometimes it is necessary to question the thinking of senior government.
As the federal government seeks to eliminate thousands of jobs from departments across Canada, you must question how decisions were arrived at. It is especially true of border services.
Similarly, in Ontario, we already have seen the announcement of Ontario tourism information centres closing in the northwest and at four other locations in Canada.
On April 11, the Globe and Mail published a story, “Ontario eyes energy sector overhaul.” Why would a municipal government want to sell off its hydro distribution company?
The province announced the overhaul as part of the 2012 budget that would launch a review of the electrical sector and its various agencies. Part of the review would look at the selling off of municipal power corporations.
Proponents of the sell-off make the argument that private companies would have savings of scale. The 80 municipal distribution companies would be sold off.
Companies such at the Fort Frances Power Corp. and Atikokan Hydro Inc. would be targeted.
Fort Frances residents would be hurt dramatically as the local distribution company has substantial savings from the 1904 power agreement.
The Liberal government is hoping cash-strapped municipalities will jump at the chance of having a windfall of money. And that windfall would take some of the pressure off the provincial government.
It is a quick fix with long-term pain.
I would hope that municipalities would look at the long-term savings that are being offered to residents in their community before even contemplating any sale. I also hope all 80 municipal power distribution companies send a clear message to Toronto that they are not up for sale.
But getting back to the federal government, the announcement that more than 1,000 jobs will be eliminated from border services across Canada is troubling. Many of those cuts are of front-line workers.
Anyone crossing at Fort Frances or Rainy River understands that often the border crossings are under-staffed at many times throughout the year. At the Fort Frances Canadian port of entry, there often are lineups waiting to pass through.
The union president, Jean Pierre Fortin, expects the cuts will increase waiting times to come into Canada, reduce secondary inspections, and create security leaks in Canada.
As a region that depends on tourism, the ability to quickly process U.S. and foreign residents quickly through the port is really important. The tourism industry has worked long and hard to remove barriers to coming to Canada.
Longer delays will not be helpful.
In the last few years, 1,600 jobs have been added to border services to improve service at entry ports. The removal of more than 1,000 jobs is negating all of those improvements.
Does the right hand know what the left is doing?

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