In an apparent attempt to embarrass Canadian Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Liberal Party tabled an order in Parliament to request the costs and number of staffers at the Prime Minister's Office. How did the PMO respond?
Did the third party Opposition discomfit Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his governing Conservative Party? After his Office published the details of its budget and staff levels, you can be the judge of that.
Following the PMO’s expansion in 2007 to 2008 from $7.6 million to $9.89 million (30 percent), it has decreased 22 percent to $7.7 million. The Prime Minister has 94 staff members, which is down from 105. Meanwhile, 21 of those staffers earn more than $100,000 and 23 have salaries less than $50,000.
It seems that the prime minister is attempting to lead by example after releasing its federal budget last month that consists of efficiencies and significant cuts that will save the federal government approximately $5.2 billion per year.
“The Prime Minister's Office is leading by example and has become significantly smaller and less expensive in the past three years,” said Carl Vallee, Harper’s press secretary, in an interview with PostMedia News. “The prime minister's senior team consists of individuals with diverse experience in law, academia, the private sector and the public sector, as well as in their home communities across Canada.”
Despite the decrease in size of the PMO, there is still criticism from opponents and public sector workers, who are complaining about the more than 19,000 federal public sector jobs that will be eliminated over the next three years.
“It certainly seems to have been a mushrooming institution since 2006,” Ralph Goodale, deputy leader of the Liberal Party, told the news outlet. “The government's conservative principles seem to apply to everybody but themselves. Lead by example be damned.”
Like any other leader’s office, it consists of schedulers, political strategists, a chief of staff, secretaries and administrators. For a full list of PMO staffers, click here.
This comes a week after Liberal leader Bob Rae demanded Harper to resign following the F-35 fighter jets fiasco. Defence Minister Peter MacKay defended the extra $10 billion in costs for the jets and it was an accounting mistake.