Bureaucrats overjoyed, our worst nightmare


In last week’s column I described some of the issues that I have encountered with the bureaucracy in the Alberta government.

I think the first thing we need to understand is that it is absolutely essential for government or any large organization or business to hire bureaucrats in order to function. They are the people that are supposed to actually implement an organization’s polices and deliver the product that an entity has in its mandate.

The problem we have here in Alberta is that the bureaucracy seems to have become an entity unto itself. Rather than being servants for the people, they seem to have taken it upon themselves to tell the people what they need and want.

I described a couple of examples in the column from last week.

Where I think the bureaucracy gets off track is that they cannot resist the temptation to exercise control. Every time you hear the word centralize from government you just know that it is bureaucrats maneuvering to gain more control in their department.

I am not privy to the reorganization that takes place in most of the government departments but there are some examples that I am aware of.

I just finished reading a book written by a retired game warden. He details some excellent examples of bureaucrats organizing and reorganizing the departments that were responsible for protecting Alberta’s fish and wildlife.

The front line workers in this department were the game wardens. The welfare of these people did not seem to be a major concern of the bureaucracy.

Game wardens, like police, are always at risk for personal injury. It took over two decades of lobbying before they were officially issued weapons to protect themselves.

The bureaucrats seemed to have no clue as to the hours of work, risk and sacrifice that was involved by these officers in protecting this valuable resource.

The bureaucrats were much more interested in protecting their own skin. I would recommend that you try to get a copy of Game Warden IV by Murray Bates. Believe me, it is a real eye-opener.

Where the Alberta government has really done damage to this province is with the reorganization of the Alberta Health Care System. The system has gone through three major reorganizations since the mid nineties.

It went from individual hospital boards of directors to 17 regional boards to nine regional boards. That still didn’t produce the desired results.

The system was costing too much and wait times for certain operations and emergency room service was unacceptable.  The bureaucrats were then able to convince a new progressive premier by the name of Ed Stelmach one provincial board with one CEO was the answer.

With a centralized health care system the government thought it could control the costs and deliver better service.

In my opinion the opposite happened.

What the bureaucracy and its union, the AUPE did not seem to understand was that an organization of that size would require  hundreds of management bureaucrats to function.

So what was achieved?

We now have a bloated over paid bureaucracy that has forced the government into deficit for the last seven years.


It is now the most expensive health care system in Canada and delivers the poorest service, but the bureaucrats are in control!

With a union friendly government in power now just think what will happen with the implementation of Bill 6 and a carbon tax system.

I think it will be our worst nightmare. It won’t take long for Alberta to look like Ontario.

You can be sure the bureaucrats were overjoyed when the NDP were elected with a majority. There would be no cutbacks.

About the author

ECA Review