Problems with public-private partnerships not enough to stop some politicians from promising more | National Union of Public and General Employees

Problems with public-private partnerships not enough to stop some politicians from promising more

The Ontario Auditor General has also found figures were manipulated to make P3s appear cheaper than traditional procurement. For the Union Station – Pearson rail link, the consulting firm that designed the matrix for evaluating whether a P3 would be cheaper profited from the decision to use a P3.

Ottawa (22 May 2014) — The problems with public-private partnerships (P3s) are well documented, yet still some Ontario politicians are promising more.

Liberals and Progressive Conservatives continue to promise privatization of services

P3s were found to cost an average of 16 per cent more than traditional procurement reported a recent University of Toronto study. In 2009,when he audtied the Brampton Civic Hospital P3 project, Ontario's Auditor General also found the P3 option was $394 million more expensive than traditional procurement.

The Auditor General has also found figures were manipulated to make P3s appear cheaper than traditional procurement. For the Union Station – Pearson rail link, the consulting firm that designed the matrix for evaluating whether a P3 would be cheaper profited from the decision to use a P3.

There are also concerns about the impact on public services.  Just last month, for example, it was revealed that work on the Herb Gray Parkway P3 didn't meet safety standards.

Example after example proves that P3s are more expensive than going public

Yet in spite of these and many other problems, both the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals are continuing to support P3s.

Last week, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak promised to use a P3 for a transportation route to the Ring of Fire mineral deposits in Northern Ontario. Taking a similar position to the Liberals,  the Progressive Conservatives released policy paper last December that supported P3s for housing and transit projects.

In their pre-election budget, the Liberals boasted about their 80 P3s saying they would keep using them. They are even considering P3s for Ontario Power Generation, Hydro One, and the LCBO.

The attraction of P3s for politicians is easy to understand. Like any “buy now, pay later” scheme, they allow new infrastructure to be announced now, while future generations foot the bill. But for the public, P3s mean higher costs and poorer service.

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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