A few news stories have been written about the Advanced Leadership Program exposed yesterday.
Of note, the NDP and the Public Sector Alliance of Canada have responded to the story suggesting that the program is outrageous.
This is smart positioning by PSAC which is the union that represents the bureaucratic sector in Ottawa.
PSAC notes that some of their members will be receiving pink slips after the government reviews spending to cut the deficit. EX-level bureaucrats who traveled on the Advanced Leadership Program are not represented by PSAC.
The NDP is now active on this issue as well. They question the value of spending tens of thousands on training per senior bureaucrat. Their position is one of saving money on services to Canadians. Given a limited pool, the Advanced Leadership Program is superfluous.
The government’s only response has been to say that the program (like others) is under review.
Stephen Harper’s former Chief of Staff, Ian Brodie, has come out in defense of the program. Brodie suggests that the when the Conservatives came to power in 2006, many senior-level bureaucrats were set to retire with no plan on how to replace the mandarins. Like any other organization, Dr. Brodie asserts, the Government of Canada has senior staff that require training in executive management. While I have tremendous respect for Brodie, I must say that while we’re in deficit, we can’t have all that we want and now is the time to prioritize need. Further, $50,000 trips around the world for training is a tough sell to most Canadians. The Advanced Leadership Program seems to be a unwise use of tax dollars.
The story still has quite a bit of active interest from news/advocacy/political organizations today and I’m somewhat surprised that the government has not yet addressed this issue specifically.