The Eagle Blog

Challenging the Norms

Every now and then I ponder about why thing are “the way they are” … because, as a society we are sometimes just a little too accepting of the status quo.

Here are a couple for you …

1. Why is that the government decides how big government is? Isn’t that a conflict of interest? The “public service” is paid for by the taxes generated in the private sector, yet government just gets bigger and we don’t seem to have any say.

For example … between the years 2000 and 2006 the Federal Government’s in-house computer ranks grew from about 8,000 people to some 18,000 (CATA research). I have no reason to believe their ranks have shrunk.

Why is that a problem? Because government workers do not contribute to Canada’s GDP and because engaging Canadian industry to do the work of those in-house people would have helped establish/grow Canadian businesses to contribute to the economy in so many other ways.

2. Canada’s forces are deployed in harm’s way around the world, currently it is Afghanistan, but it has been Bosnia, Rwanda, Korea and the great wars etc.. It is our youngest and fittest who go off to battle, and who die in far away places.

Does it always need to be that way? Many of those injured and killed in modern day engagements have been driving vehicles … do you need to be 20 years old to drive, or could a fit 50 year old do a similar job? Would we rather lose those young men or the old “farts” like me? I know where my vote lies.

3. In our society we have a safety net that provides an income to those who can’t provide for themselves for whatever reason. That money comes from the taxes paid by the other members of society that are going to work every day.

Why can’t those receiving “free” money be expected to work for it? It is normal to expect a return for an investment in our world, so why not expect something for the welfare money paid. Just perhaps if the work wasn’t so pleasant it might encourage people to be a little more committed o finding employment if it exists. Worst case the tax payer might get services that currently are not provided or that are short changed.

Of course such thinking would be absolutely foreign to our Provincial government led by Comrade McGuinty. Now how did I get to mention him again? 🙂

I’ll leave my heresy stand at that for now … maybe I’ll rattle cages again in a few weeks.


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8 thoughts on “Challenging the Norms

  1. Don … fair question and thanks for asking. I actually thought someone might make some reference to “Norm” from Cheers!

    Recruiting companies contribute to the economy in a number of ways, and to GDP primarily indirectly through their clients, but also by supplying Canadian labour to work on out of country jobs. At one point Eagle had 80 Canadian contractors working i the US, under NAFTA rules and paying their taxes and mortgage here in Canada.

    The biggest contribution to GDP comes from the supply of a flexible workforce that allows Canadian companies to remain competitive; allows them to “do more” than they could without that flexibility; and also gives them access to key skills they might not otherwise be able to access.

    Every business today (but not government) is forced to operate as lean as possible, so access to a flexible workforce is critical to success. Whether it be contract technology professionals to implement a project; temporary accounting help to comply with new regulations like IFRS; or blue collar workers to add a temporary shift to a factory there are many and varied ways the staffing industry help Canadian business.

    Staffing companies themselves also contribute to the Canadian economy by employing their full time staff, renting office space, buying supplies, paying taxes, giving back to charity etc.

    It should also be mentioned, that the independent contractors often go on to form larger corporate entities that in turn contribute to the Canadian GDP. A couple of local examples in Ottawa of companies that started off with a consultant or two taking contract engagements are Cognos and Calian … but a little research would probably uncover many such examples.

    PS. I know that you are a contractor working in government, and I would much sooner see government actually “doing” less, and contracting out anything that it possibly can. There is no real reason why the government needs its own IT resources when using Canadian industry would actually be an investment in those companies (big and small).

  2. Don … fair question and thanks for asking. I actually thought someone might make some reference to “Norm” from Cheers!

    Recruiting companies contribute to the economy in a number of ways, and to GDP primarily indirectly through their clients, but also by supplying Canadian labour to work on out of country jobs. At one point Eagle had 80 Canadian contractors working i the US, under NAFTA rules and paying their taxes and mortgage here in Canada.

    The biggest contribution to GDP comes from the supply of a flexible workforce that allows Canadian companies to remain competitive; allows them to “do more” than they could without that flexibility; and also gives them access to key skills they might not otherwise be able to access.

    Every business today (but not government) is forced to operate as lean as possible, so access to a flexible workforce is critical to success. Whether it be contract technology professionals to implement a project; temporary accounting help to comply with new regulations like IFRS; or blue collar workers to add a temporary shift to a factory there are many and varied ways the staffing industry help Canadian business.

    Staffing companies themselves also contribute to the Canadian economy by employing their full time staff, renting office space, buying supplies, paying taxes, giving back to charity etc.

    It should also be mentioned, that the independent contractors often go on to form larger corporate entities that in turn contribute to the Canadian GDP. A couple of local examples in Ottawa of companies that started off with a consultant or two taking contract engagements are Cognos and Calian … but a little research would probably uncover many such examples.

    PS. I know that you are a contractor working in government, and I would much sooner see government actually “doing” less, and contracting out anything that it possibly can. There is no real reason why the government needs its own IT resources when using Canadian industry would actually be an investment in those companies (big and small).

  3. Be careful what you wish for. If government were to outsource IT by pursuing the lowest possible cost, then those contracts might be awarded to foreign companies. What would that do to the Canadian GDP? (Does Eagle have an office in the South Asia region?)

    But, as you know all too well, governments are not driven by the same forces as private businesses. For example, the eHealth scandal has made it very difficult for project managers to procure FFS (fee for service) resources, even when the resources are desperately needed.

  4. Be careful what you wish for. If government were to outsource IT by pursuing the lowest possible cost, then those contracts might be awarded to foreign companies. What would that do to the Canadian GDP? (Does Eagle have an office in the South Asia region?)

    But, as you know all too well, governments are not driven by the same forces as private businesses. For example, the eHealth scandal has made it very difficult for project managers to procure FFS (fee for service) resources, even when the resources are desperately needed.

  5. We haven't opened that Asian office yet 🙂

    I'd like to think that offshore would only form a small part of a Canadian solution for a government need. But I do understand how government procurement works … so the rose coloured glasses have atouch of pragmatism in there!

    The eHealth (and other areas of focus) have caused consternation in the Ontario government. Bid rigging, large project "failures", and a propensity for litigation have caused significant concern amongst Federal government managers. Sometimes we just do it to ourselves, don't we?

    For many government managers the risk associated with contracting out work, big or small is just not worth it. Its a tough environment to get anything done.

  6. We haven't opened that Asian office yet 🙂

    I'd like to think that offshore would only form a small part of a Canadian solution for a government need. But I do understand how government procurement works … so the rose coloured glasses have atouch of pragmatism in there!

    The eHealth (and other areas of focus) have caused consternation in the Ontario government. Bid rigging, large project "failures", and a propensity for litigation have caused significant concern amongst Federal government managers. Sometimes we just do it to ourselves, don't we?

    For many government managers the risk associated with contracting out work, big or small is just not worth it. Its a tough environment to get anything done.

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