“Economists and others have been advising government not to act in haste. Turning our service delivery model into a for-profit model will see the level of service decided by corporate profit rather than the public’s need for service,” — Carol Furlong, President of NAPE.
St. John's (9 March 2015) — Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE/NUPGE) President Carol Furlong said it would be fiscally and morally irresponsible for government to convert public services into a for-profit system.
Furlong was reacting to comments by Premier Davis who indicated in a speech to the St. John’s Rotary Club yesterday that privatization of public services could be part of the government’s strategy in the upcoming provincial budget.
Why the haste?
“The Premier and the Minister of Finance have acknowledged that the province’s fiscal challenges are short term,” stated Furlong. “Economists and others have been advising government not to act in haste. Turning our service delivery model into a for-profit model will see the level of service decided by corporate profit rather than the public’s need for service.”
Furlong pointed to recent examples of less than efficient cost saving privatization endeavors. “We witnessed a portion of health care building maintenance being transferred to private companies at $150 per hour while the same services can be provided for $25 per hour by our members. Where exactly is the cost saving?”
Another example provided by Furlong, “Snow clearing services transferred to contractors who work side by side with our members for four to five times the cost.”
Rewarding corporate friends at people's expense
“These privatization musings by the Premier are all about taking the public’s money and using it to reward corporate friends of the governing party. The government has no mandate for such an economic transfer and a resulting reduction in services,” continued Furlong. “Public services are not the Premier’s to sell. If this is the government’s new agenda, what the province needs is an election, not a budget.”
“NAPE will marshal all of its resources to prevent a privatization agenda to ensure the public are totally informed of the Premier’s plans to transfer taxpayer dollars away from public services and into the private sector. This Stephen Harper style agenda will not be acceptable in Newfoundland and Labrador,” stated Furlong.
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