Privatization industry gold award for P3 privatization procurement under investigation | National Union of Public and General Employees

Privatization industry gold award for P3 privatization procurement under investigation

A dodgy privatization scheme getting an award from the privatization industry is one more reminder that what’s good for the privatization industry and what’s good for the public are two very different things.

Ottawa (7 Oct. 2019) — A bidder that failed to meet the technical requirements was awarded a contract for a P3 privatization scheme to extend the Trillium O-Train line in Ottawa. The City of Ottawa auditor general is looking into the procurement process for that P3 privatization scheme. For any reasonable person the problems with the procurement process for this P3 privatization scheme are an argument against privatization.

But that’s not how the privatization industry sees things. Last week the project received the gold award for transit P3s at a privatization industry event in New City.

“Award winning” procurement process under investigation

After it was revealed that the winning bid for the extension of Ottawa’s Trillium Line hadn’t met the technical requirements, the city’s auditor general announced he would be investigating the procurement process. This is the same procurement process that won a gold award from the privatization industry last week.

The minimum technical score for bids was 70%. TNext, the SNC-Lavalin subsidiary that got the contract, only scored of 67.27%. The other two bids both exceeded the technical requirements.

City councillors were not told that the winning bid had not met the required technical score until after the contract had been awarded. During the council meeting where the decision on awarding the contract was made, a lawyer for Norton Rose Fulbright, a company that gets a significant amount of revenue from privatization, told councillors that, “Council is not supposed to verify whether all three proponents have met the technical score.”

Not the first time the privatization industry has given a gold award to a dodgy project

This is not the first time a dodgy P3 privatization scheme has been given a gold award by the privatization industry. In 2010 the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships gave a gold award for project financing to the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) P3 privatization scheme. It was later found that the award of the contract for the P3 involved bribery. A police investigator looking into the MUHC P3 described it as “the biggest fraud corruption in the history of Canada.”

Interestingly with both the Trillium Line Extension P3 and the MUHC P3, the successful bidder was SNC-Lavalin or a consortium including SNC-Lavalin.

Awards show the privatization industry has very different standards from the public

A dodgy privatization scheme getting an award from the privatization industry is one more reminder that what’s good for the privatization industry and what’s good for the public are two very different things.

The public want quality, affordable services. People know that the only way to ensure that happens is for the services and for procurement process to be transparent and accountable.

For the privatization industry, what’s important is profiting from public spending. That would be a lot harder if the public had all the details of P3s and other privatization schemes. That’s why the privatization industry supports keeping information about the procurement or operation from the public on the grounds of “commercial confidentiality.”


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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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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