Public Values

Conservatives fund risky, expensive privatization deals

Evidence is mounting that P3s do not deliver real value for money - Paul Moist.

Evidence is mounting that P3s do not deliver real value for money - Paul Moist.May 12, 2010, OTTAWA - The federal government would get more bang for its buck by investing its $1.2 billion privatization fund directly into public infrastructure, says CUPE National President Paul Moist.

The federal crown corporation in charge of privatization called today for new applications to the P3 Canada Fund. Yet PPP Canada Inc. has only disclosed one recipient of the first round of cash. Canadians have the right to scrutinize how their tax dollars are spent - before any further P3 funding is handed out, according to Moist.

"Evidence is mounting that P3s don't deliver real value for money. Quebec's auditor general recently found the provincial P3 agency couldn't back up its recommendation that privatizing a Montreal hospital was the best deal for taxpayers. It's a similar story in British Columbia, where the provincial agency's methodology is fundamentally flawed. Now we have a federal P3 agency acting as both cheerleader and cheque-cutter," says Moist.

P3s are an expensive and risky way to deliver infrastructure. Major industry figures, most recently the head of Bombardier, have questioned the value of P3s given the private sector's higher financing costs. "Funneling public money into privatization deals wastes tax dollars and doesn't deliver what Canadian communities need," says Moist.

"If I had a billion dollars, I'd invest it where we'd get a faster and bigger economic return - in publicly financed and delivered projects, not privatization." In addition to costing more, privatization through P3s injects lengthy delays into the process, limits local purchasing and hiring, and lacks transparency. "It's time to turn off the taps on this privatization subsidy and invest directly in the public services and infrastructure that are the bedrock of our country," says Moist.

Posted: May 13, 2010

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