Public Values

Saskatchewan government feeling out public-private partnerships

New secretariat to evaluate proposals.

by James Wood

January 2, 2009 — The Saskatchewan Party government is setting up a secretariat to explore the possibility of private sector companies being involved in large-scale infrastructure projects such as roads, schools and health-care facilities.

But while infrastructure dollars are slated to flow from the provincial and federal governments as part of an economic stimulus package, Government Services Minister Dan D'Autremont said the province will proceed slowly when it comes to the public-private partnerships dubbed P3s.

"All of the advice we have received is, 'do not rush,' that you need to have a very clear understanding of what you're looking for and what it is that's being offered and not to be precipitous," the minister said in an interview Tuesday.

At its last meeting two weeks ago, cabinet moved associate deputy minister Mike Shaw from health to government services as the head and first employee of the new P3 secretariat.

The cross-ministerial body will develop the criteria for judging private sector proposals and will have the final say, except for cabinet, on the projects.

The government has set $25 million as the minimum cost of projects for which private sector involvement will be considered, he said.

The Sask. Party government committed $1 billion in this year's budget for infrastructure and has pledged $1.5 billion for the year ahead. Premier Brad Wall recently told reporters the government may accelerate spending as part of stimulus measures, with some of next year's planned dollars potentially being booked into this budget year. . .

To read further. . .

Links and sources
  Gov't explores public-private partnerships, by James Wood, The StarPhoenix, January 2, 2009

Posted: January 07, 2009

  Public services
  Front lines
  Voices of privatization

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