Fresh data helps bolster NUPGE’s upcoming anti-privatization conference. “I’ve always thought most Canadians agree with us about privatization, so this polling data doesn’t come as a surprise,” says NUPGE National President James Clancy.
Ottawa (26 Sept. 2014) — Corporate lobbyists and conservative politicians continue to push for the privatization of public services, but a new poll shows that Canadians are deeply mistrustful of privatization schemes. In fact, a large majority of Canadians believe that allowing the wealthy few to profit from public services weakens our country’s core values. Nearly half of Canadians go even further, declaring privatization immoral.
Privatization's fatal flaw
“As public sector workers, we’ve had front-row seats for one terrible privatization scheme after another,” says James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). “We understand that privatization is a concept that is, at its core, fatally flawed. You simply can’t provide good, fair services when you add greed to the mix."
“I’ve always thought most Canadians agree with us about privatization, so this polling data doesn’t come as a surprise.”
In late August and early September, Vector Polling asked 1,100 randomly selected Canadians from coast to coast a variety of questions about privatization.
- 69 per cent agreed (and 20 per cent agreed completely) that “allowing a few people to profit from services meant for all of us weakens our country's principles and core values of caring and sharing.”
- 82 per cent agreed (35 per cent agreed completely) that “when private companies get contracts to provide government programs, the public loses control over services people depend on.”
- 43 per cent of Canadians—and 60 per cent of Atlantic Canadians—agreed that “it is morally wrong to make a profit by providing services to people who need them and are unable to care for themselves.”
“I think the privateers understand how unpopular privatization actually is,” says Clancy, “and so they’ve become very clever about avoiding the word privatization when they’re hawking their latest privatization schemes.”
"They’ve become very clever about avoiding the word privatization when they’re hawking their latest privatization schemes.”
Instead, they use terms like “partnerships,” or “social impact bonds,” or “asset recycling.”
“They’re playing a classic shell game,” says Clancy. “Making promises that sound good — too good to be true, really — and then delivering the same old thing. It’s a scam.”
Privatization conference in October
To help protect Canadians from these scams, NUPGE and the Public Services Foundation of Canada are hosting an international conference next month called “New Forms of Privatizations: What Are They and How Do We Fight Them.”
The three-day conference, from October 28 to 30 at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, is gathering policy experts, researchers, and trade unionists from across Canada and around the world, to grapple with a renewed tide of privatization schemes.
During the conference, NUPGE will also reveal the winner of its tongue-in-cheek Privatization Scam of the Year Award for “the sleaziest Canadian privatization” of 2013. The public is being invited to vote for the winner via the website www.whatascam.ca.
The five nominees for the 2013 “Scammie” are:
- Ontario’s privatized gas plants
- Saskatchewan’s liquor store sell-off
- Edmonton’s privatized light rail line
- CFB Goose Bay’s privatized security contract
- Montreal's privatized McGill University Health Centre
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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