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Why does it seem like most government services are mismanaged or backlogged despite record level public spending and size of bureaucracy? Because comfort leads to complacency, and complacency is the parent of incompetence.


In the private sector, you're accountable to your employer. If you fail to complete your tasks, he or she will set you free.  


In the public sector, accountability is limited. Your employer - the taxpayer - only sets you free when the political party in power changes hands.


For that reason, incompetence is prevalent in the public sector: from the lawyers in the Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel to the recruitment agents at the Canadian Armed Forces. 


As a young professional who dreams of paying his student debt, buying a home, and starting a family, I understand the cost-of-living crisis public servants are experiencing. Nevertheless, it’s difficult for taxpayers like me to empathize with striking bureaucrats when we’ve had such negative experiences accessing the government services we fund, and they provide.

Originally published by Ottawa Citizen on April 22, 2023.

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