Robert Fonberg, Deputy Minister of Defence, was launching the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign for 2010 when he said these words. Last year, federal public servants raised $38,869,967.42 in support of local charities.
Everybody knows that public servants are fat cats who make too much money and are an easy target for politicians and the press. A few months ago the coalition government in the UK published a “public sector rich list” and set up a process to review civil servant pay scales.
The Vancouver Sun has set up a public sector database to track public servant salaries with the headline: “Number of public servants earning more than $100,000 on the rise.” It lists the highest paid.
I’m not going to defend public sector value for money here. But let’s remember that whatever they earn, public servants across the country contribute beyond their work descriptions, volunteering and donating generously to make their communities better.
Federally, it’s the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign. But it’s not just federal public servants. In Manitoba, there is the All Charities Campaign that “enables employees to donate to charities of their choice through the convenience of payroll deduction or a one-time gift by cash or cheque.” It’s run on a volunteer basis by Manitoba government employees and reaches over 18,000 provincial public servants.
And then there is the British Columbia Provincial Employees Community Services Fund that offers a single window for charitable donations by provincial public servants. Last year it raised over two million dollars province-wide.
These and like campaigns across the country speak to the generosity of the much-maligned public servant. We should sit back for a minute to celebrate their generosity.