Jamie Baillie’s Math Problem

Good research is vitally important to a political party. When your numbers don’t add up, it is difficult for journalists to take your argument seriously. Lately, back-room-boy turned Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie has had a math problem.

A Conservative press release argues that the Chignecto-Central School Board were firing 41 of their librarians while the NDP’s Finance Minister Graham Steele has added 41 new employees.

This brought a swift rebuke by Graham Steele, who wrote:

I am responding to inaccurate statements from the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party that the Department of Finance has added 41 new positions in its 2012-13 budget. This statement is simply untrue.

Here are the facts: the Department of Finance’s 2012-13 budget is $39 million, which includes funding for 257 positions. Last year, the Department was funded for 238 positions.

This increase is due to the centralization of the government’s Accounts Payable function at the Department of Finance. There is a corresponding decrease of funded positions in other departments because of this movement of staff.

In other words, the government is employing the same staff, performing the same job, at the same salary. Consolidating these staff will save money over the long-term.

Mr. Baillie is attempting to score political points over an initiative that reduces administration within government-an objective that the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party purports to support. If Mr. Baillie is opposed to finding efficiencies within government, he should come out and say so.

Note: Some readers have asked us our opinion on the Chignecto-Central School Board’s attempt to fire their entire library staff. We thought it was ridiculous and are pleased the government is stepping in.