It’s not the heat, it’s the futility

How can public servants enjoy such lavish perks yet seem so unhappy?

It’s easy to laugh at bureaucratic discontents. When you read that one in six Quebec cabinet advisers needed psychological help last year because the public mood is so unruly, the joke writes itself. (Punchline: I thought they were meant to drive us insane.) But the crisis of morale in federal and provincial civil services is weird enough to require explanation.

Outside the bubble everyone knows even ordinary government employees enjoy salaries, pensions and job security that are offensively disproportionate. And, above them, what the Ottawa Citizen’s David Reevely just called a “bureaucratic aristocracy” draws six-figure salaries plus bonuses, stays at fancy hotels, eats like kings and brushes off criticism with obtuse disdain.