Canadian Fed Watch News Across The Nation …

January 15, 2003

Costs of the Royal Treatment

Manitoba has released (See: http://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/press/top/2003/01/2003-01-08-01.html) the preliminary estimates on how much it cost to host the Queen and Prince Phillip for an overnight stay. So far, the total has come to just over half a million dollars.

So what does $505,000 purchase these days? Apparently it purchases staging, talent, and a production at both the Forks and the Legislative Building; a royal dinner, reception and the associated trimmings; and the accommodations, transportation, security, hospitality and promotion of the visit. But is this really worth it? After all, the money paid out for the Queen’s visit on October 8th and 9th, 2002 could have paid for the full undergraduate education of 10 students.

I can understand wanting to ensure that a visit from the Royal Family is treated with the pomp and pageantry that it deserves, but did it really deserve over half a million dollars for less than 48 hours? As a comparison, there are 111 student loan accounts since 1997 where the holders have declared bankruptcy (See: http://www.oag.mb.ca/reports/2002/vfm/report_summary/conclusions.htm). These accounts total approximately $356,000 and are still considered owing because of a change in the bankruptcy act that requires that student loans remain a debt even after a student has gone bankrupt.

So for less than the cost of the October 8th and 9th royal visit, the Manitoba government could have wiped these accounts off the record, and 111 people would be able come out of their bankruptcy with a fresh start, as is intended, rather than a huge debt.

Saskatchewan Looking for Aboriginal Graduates

The Province of Saskatchewan is seeking aboriginal students who have graduated in the last five years for participation in their internship program. (See: http://www.gov.sk.ca/newsrel/releases/2003/01/07-004.html) Those chosen will be working in various departments throughout the public service sector of Saskatchewan in a job rotation plan that allows participants to experience many different areas of the Saskatchewan government.

The internships last for two years with salary and benefits paid. More information can be found by going to http://www.careers.gov.sk.ca, but you’ll need to apply soon as the final application date is February 28, 2003.

xwave: Problems Brewing in Atlantic Canada

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador recently issued its reaction to the announcement that a certain company known as xwave was going to be laying off 42 workers (See: http://www.gov.nf.ca/releases/2003/exec/0110n02.htm). The reason they are concerned is because they recently extended their contract with xwave until March of 2007, and among the conditions for that contract is one that obligates xwave to create a minimum of 100 jobs by the end of the contract – with 40 of them to be created by March 2003. The provincial government now estimates that the recent layoffs mean xwave will be short of the target by some 66 jobs.

Meanwhile, the Government of Prince Edward Island is pleased to announce that over 1300 square feet of space in their new Atlantic Technology Centre has just been leased to a subsidiary company of the Aliant group: A little company known as xwave (See: http://www.gov.nf.ca/releases/2003/exec/0110n02.htm).

Maybe this rental will allow xwave to somehow generate enough business in PEI that they’ll have to hire a bunch of workers in Newfoundland to handle it all. More likely is that a company having difficulty maintaining its contracts in one province will find it equally difficult to maintain new contracts signed in another.

Unfortunately, the people who are most likely to get hurt from this deal are the citizens of those two provinces who will end up having to pay the legal fees should xwave run into further difficulties.

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