"The reality is that the merits of privatizations are often oversold," says Financial Post columnist Barry Critchley. "Instead of a real sale, the public, at times, can be left on the hook for any losses, financial or otherwise. In short, those who buy such assets have to be made accountable and government is the only entity that can do that."
Ottawa (21 Oct. 2014) — Newspaper columnists and radio talk show hosts are paying attention to fresh polling data that shows just how uneasy Canadians are about the concept of privatization.
Last week, the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) publicized the results of the polling done in September in which:
- 70 per cent of respondents agreed 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 that “when private companies get contracts to provide government programs, the public loses control over services people depend on.”
Members of the media took notice and NUPGE National President James Clancy was invited to talk more about the numbers, and about privatization in general, on radio talk shows. And while each of the radio hosts mounted a defence of privatization in certain instances, they also acknowledged the crucial importance of ensuring that all the details of any privatization proposal be made public.
Listen to Clancy's Oct. 16 interview with Talk 1010 (Toronto) host Jim Richards. (Keep listening after Clancy's interview wraps up; the talk show host is wearing his anti-labour heart on his sleeve, but one of the station's news reporters is clearly distrustful of privatization.)
Listen to Clancy's Oct. 17 interview with Talk 1310 (Ottawa) host Ed Hand
Financial Post columnist Barry Critchley also made note of the poll in an article about the managers of public pensions who view privatization as a good investment. But picking up on the anti-privatization sentiment revealed in NUPGE's polling, Critchley issued this warning: "The reality is that the merits of privatizations are often oversold. Instead of a real sale, the public, at times, can be left on the hook for any losses, financial or otherwise. In short, those who buy such assets have to be made accountable and government is the only entity that can do that."
All this coverage comes on the eve of NUPGE's International Conference on New Forms of Privatization, which is taking place in Ottawa from Oct. 28-30.
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