When given facts, Ontarians want federal government to stay away from P3s

"[Ontarians] understand that there’s no reason to pay a premium to private contractors through this infrastructure bank when the government can borrow at historically low rates." — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President

Toronto (18 Nov. 2016) — When presented with the facts on cost overruns, Ontarians agree that governments should stay away from public-private partnerships (P3s), according to a new province-wide poll.

The Ipsos poll finds that support for the use of P3s for infrastructure developments in Canada falls from 70 per cent to 25 per cent when respondents are aware of the Auditor-General’s finding that P3 deals have cost the province nearly $8 billion in extra costs. The poll was released at a public rally to protest the closed-door meetings on privatization being held by Kathleen Wynne and Justin Trudeau. 

Selling off publlc services to private companies lines investors' pockets
“It’s no surprise that today’s meetings on privatization and P3s are being held behind closed doors,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE). “When people find out how much of their money private contractors are skimming off the top, they don’t want anything to do with it. Unfortunately for the public, the Liberals in Queen’s Park and Ottawa are being led down the garden path by wealthy investors just looking for a payday.”

Additional findings show that the public have little faith in the government’s promises of cost savings.

Only 22 per cent of Ontarians believe that P3s cost the public less, and when asked about the cost of infrastructure projects, nearly 59 per cent (or 6 in 10) agree that P3 deals add unnecessary costs. An even larger majority, 80 per cent, of Ontarians believe that in the context of low interest rates, the government should use its own or borrowed money, rather than P3s, to fund infrastructure projects.

Ontarians oppose giving up control of public services through privatization
Beyond cost, Ontarians are concerned about giving up control over these important projects, with 71 per cent feeling that P3s give private companies and investors too much control over how public dollars are spent.

“Bill Morneau should stop listening to what the wealthy few at his exclusive fundraisers want, and start listening to Canadians,” said Thomas. “They understand that there’s no reason to pay a premium to private contractors through this infrastructure bank when the government can borrow at historically low rates."

“More importantly, they understand that these public assets are simply too important to give up control over. Our public assets and services were built with public dollars, and public sweat, which means they don’t belong to the government, they belong to us all. Fair warning to the government — we’re not giving them up quietly.”

Full results and methodology can be found here

NUPGE
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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