Making our position known

As an attendee at PEO’s town hall meeting in November and an opponent of CPD, I disagree with Annette Bergeron’s [P.Eng., then the chair of CPDCQA Task Force] assessment that “70 per cent of attendees came around to supporting our program and 30 per cent of attendees did not want to listen” (“Members warming to idea of CPD,” Engineering Dimensions, January/February 2016, p. 16).

I believe she mistook a polite response as acceptance and it was she who failed to listen to views that did not fit her narrative.

Many believe that compulsory professional development (CPD) is a solution proposed for a problem that does not exist. No system is perfect and no credible proponent of CPD is prepared to guarantee that the proposed CPD would prevent the future failure of an aging parking garage or other similar structure.

Social sciences are just as rigorous as the physical sciences. Bureaucracies are self-perpetuating and inevitably grow over time. Be reminded of Milton Friedman’s famous quote: “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.” Once CPD is established, it grows and becomes more intrusive. As a CPA/CMA, I can attest to this result based on experience.

Customers, employers and the marketplace are more than capable of policing engineering competence. CPD bureaucracy would be superfluous, expensive and ineffective in comparison to this market discipline that has served us well throughout our history.

Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” has ensured our competence in all fields of engineering endeavour more effectively and completely than any CPD bureaucrat could even contemplate.

I’m confident that our PEO members will reject CPD in a fair referendum that allows for that option.

I understand that council is concerned about what the government would do if we reject CPD. They need not be concerned. After stacking our council with 12 voting lieutenant governor appointees (LGAs), and refusing to remove the industrial exemption, the Liberal government is already on thin ice with the 80,000 voters we represent. We also collectively have the resources to make our position known to an even broader voting audience.

Steve Schillaci, P.Eng., Pickering, ON