Public Values

BC public-private partnerships (P3s) questioned by Auditor General, independent review called for

"Bill of goods" being sold to Canadian taxpayers with privatization.

World Bank report calls P3s into questionA review of British Columbia's public-private partnerships (P3) by the province's Auditor General is providing evidence that Canadian taxpayers are being sold a "bill of goods" with privatization. Even the World Bank has questioned agencies such as Partnerships BC.

In December, B.C. Auditor General John Doyle reported to the Legislature's Public Accounts Committee, see the link to the full report below.

Doyle's investigation may benefit from reports by Auditors General in Quebec and Ontario that offer stinging critiques of the approach to promoting P3s used by the B.C. government's privatization agency Partnerships BC and others. As well, BC economist Marvin Shaffer and forensic accountants Ron Parks and Rosanne Terhart, have provided assessments that question the B.C. government claim that P3s save money.

"The provincial government and Partnerships BC are going full steam ahead with P3s, regardless of mounting evidence that they are a taxpayer rip-off. We need a truly independent review by the BC Auditor General," says CUPE BC President Barry O'Neill.

Both the Ontario and Quebec Auditors General have questioned key aspects of P3s related to risk transfer and financing. The Quebec Auditor General raises concerns that agencies like Partnerships BC offer supposedly independent analysis while being closely involved in the preparation of proposals that support privatization over public operation.

"There is significant evidence that the process is stacked in favour of privatization - not the public interest. And that should concern the Auditor General," says O'Neill.

Links and sources
  Report to BC Public Accounts Committee by CUPE BC President Barry O'Neill
  Keep It Public site
  World Bank 2006 report re: agencies such as Partnerships BC

Posted: February 01, 2010

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