Thank you very much.
I certainly appreciate you taking the time to appear before us today, and for giving us some clear testimony.
My question is a follow-through on the last question you answered, which is that you will continue to hire.
I'm a little confused here. I'm going to use Stats Canada numbers, because everywhere I look there are different numbers for the public service. So I'm going to stick with Stats Canada. In 2006, for example, Stats Canada said there were roughly 380,000 employees. As of last year, there were 419,000. Those are Stats Canada's numbers. I took them off their website.
You went from 380,000 to 419,000, which is significant, almost a 40,000-person impact in terms of net increase in jobs. Of course, there was some attrition there as well.
Now we're starting to talk about some of the factors, for example, attrition, in how this budget is going to be balanced or come close to being balanced. For example, Treasury Board president Stockwell Day was at the Economic Club of Canada today, and he talked about how freezes and cuts to the public service will--I think these are his words--“take us to zero on the budget by 2014”. He said that today to the Economic Club.
Now, I think the Parliamentary Budget Officer doesn't see that it's going to go to zero, but let's take it at face value that it will go to zero by 2014. But he did talk about freezes and cuts to the public sector.
I just heard you talk about how you'll likely have to continue to hire. There's a renewal within the public service. We know about attrition. I'm sure, like business people, of which I'm one, you've been planning for the last 20 years for this demographic blip.
I know you receive Treasury Board submissions from departments on a regular basis. My question is where's the impact from this budget freeze? Is there an across-the-board reduction in the annual reference level updates? Is it by program? Can you explain how you're going to do it, based on the fact we've now heard Stockwell Day on this issue?
I'm hearing from you that you're going to have to continue to hire. I understand that. The increases over the last four years have been roughly 10,000 per year. It could have been more, earlier, but it's been 40,000 over the last four to five years. I'm anxious to hear how you think that's going to occur.
You're the one with the Treasury Board submissions, so you would know more than me.