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Mike Harris was widely lauded for making top government salaries more transparent - but be careful not to automatically identify this as a commitment to greater access to information. This disclosure can be used to arouse public anger toward admittedly well paid public servants, in order to fuel support for cutbacks. You can see this in practice when the Toronto Sun regularly trots out the impressive pay of bureaucrats like Hospital for Sick Children president Michael Strofolino.

Ironically, the same kind of disclosure in the private sector (which, incidentally, highlights what an incredible bargain our public servants are compared to their private sector counterparts) tends to fuel faster growth in executive salaries. If the CEO of, say, MacMillan Bloedel sees that his opposite number at, say, Domtar is making more than double the money, he has fuel to approach his board for an increase in his compensation package, if they want to retain his services.

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