In any philosophical debate a primary rule of thumb is to foster acceptance of your premise. If you can achieve that objective the path to selling your position becomes infinitely easier.
The Core Services Review operates on the premise that cuts must be made - pure and simple. If the citizens of Prince George accept that premise then our $350,000 consultant, KPMG, is well on its way to achieving its objectives - to promote the cutting of services, the privatizing of municipal operations, the growth of public private partnerships (where risks are borne by taxpayers and rewards are claimed by private interests) and the introduction of hefty user fees.
Common sense makes it clear that while the public sector is motivated by the provision of service the private sector is motivated by the maximizing of profit. If the Civic Centre, the pools, the arenas, and/or the libraries are privatized we will not have to wait long to see services deteriorate as fees increase, all in the name of generating a larger profit margin.
Oddly, the question that has never been asked of the public is What kind of community would you like to see Prince George become for yourself and for your family? When that question was considered by the residents of Toronto who also paid $350,000 to KPMG for an eerily similar set of recommendations (or opportunities), the citizens made it abundantly clear that they were quite willing to pay taxes to insure a safe, vibrant, healthy and inviting city with a high quality of services provided by a skilled public sector. The citizens of Toronto found the methodology and the recommendations put forward by KPMG seriously flawed and Toronto city council, in response to citizen demands, have voted down the cuts that were recommended. One can only hope that councilors in Prince George follow their lead and truly represent the aspirations of the many rather than the interests of the few.
As taxpayers, if we can afford major capital projects, four person junkets to China, and huge consulting fees to organizations like KPMG, we can probably afford plowed streets, repaired potholes and wages for the good people who do the work.