New report shows that the pace of government privatizations in the province of Saskatchwan has been increasing over the past decade.
Regina (13 Oct. 2015) — Privatization in Saskatchewan has often been described as a “political third rail” — an issue so potentially volatile that it can be handled only with the utmost care. Certainly, there is little doubt, given the political baggage that privatization carries, that politicians in Saskatchewan exercise extra caution when raising the issue. As Leader-Post columnist Murray Mandryk colourfully puts it, “Welcome to Saskatchewan where, if you are talking privatization, you best check out all the exits.”
Pace of privatization accelerating in Saskatchewan
But has privatization become a figurative third rail — too hazardous to even touch? The Wrong Track: A Decade of Privatization in Saskatchewan, 2004-2015 — from the Saskatchewan Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – argues that despite all of the political recriminations and admonitions that have been expended on the issue of privatization in the past decade, Saskatchewan has actually witnessed an acceleration of the privatization of public assets and services over the last ten years.
Chronological account of a decade of privatization in the province
The report offers a detailed chronological history of privatization in the province from 2004 to 2015. The report catalogues privatizations in all of their various forms, from the outright sale of Crown corporations and the sale of Crown subsidiaries to public-private partnerships (P3s) and the contracting out of public services to the private sector.
Overall, the report identifies more than 50 instances of privatization in the past decade, the vast majority initiated by the Saskatchewan Party government since its election in 2007.
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