Keynote Address – Alex Himelfarb

Alex Himelfarb

At 9 a.m. Alex Himelfarb, former Clerk of the Privy Council, delivered the keynote address.

He declared that the public service is unique – and must always be different from the private sector.

The private sector focusses on the bottom line.

The public service must focus on the public good – issues such as public safety, the environment, the social safety net, and infrastructure.

There is a perception that there is a growing distance between the people and the government that serves them.

Distrust in government is detrimental to society.  

We must build a new narrative and who better to lead that


  • than the public sector which is all about the public good
  • and public sector unions – which stand for solidarity.

The public service is all about the public good, and the public good is about more than the bottom line.

The Institute’s has the correct goals: to reverse privatization and promote scientific integrity.

But the question is:  Where’s the money? 

Until we find the money to back up public science and fix tax fairness, we can’t fix the problems.

The irony is that the government cut the resources needed to fix the tax leakage.

The cuts to the Canada Revenue Agency cost more than the money they think they are saving through the cuts.

We need to work for fairness in the tax system -- so we can focus on things we want to do.

The leadership can come from union members like the AGM delegates here.

We must reinstate the emphasis on the common good.

We will get the future we deserve and the future we’re willing to pay for.