Warning message

Please note that this page is from our archives. There may be more up-to-date content about this topic on our website. Use our search engine to find out.
At the expense of public accountability, public services and local democracy

Edmonton – “The Klein government today announced its long term plan to hand public sector assets over to the private sector through public private partnerships,” said CUPE Alberta President, Bruce McLeod.

Today’s budget includes $5.5 billion in new capital spending over three years. Next year and year after a third of that spending will be dedicated to alternative financing, meaning public private partnerships.

“A great big tax cut for private corporations, no commitment to meet the real needs of Albertans in health care and education, and a fancy financing scheme for the private sector to get rich on public infrastructure means that this is really a great day for private corporations in Alberta,” said McLeod.

“However, it is a very bad day for local democracy and the future of public service delivery in this province,” he added. ” And, they are forcing their ideological commitment to the private sector onto school boards, health regions and municipalities,” he said.

Starting in 2004 about a one-third of all new capital spending will be allocated through alternative financing, including the amount for local authorities.

Private interests do not correspond to public needs,” said McLeod. “We have a huge capital deficit in this province and we should be ensuring that our schools, health care facilities and municipal roads are built in the public interests and remain publicly controlled and operated,” he said.

CUPE has done a great deal of research on alternative financing schemes all across Canada. Yet the government refuses to look at the evidence. Our research has found that decisions including public access to schools, the location of new schools and hospitals as well as staffing and service levels are typically handed to the private sector with no public input,” said McLeod.

In addition, the government is handing a $95 million tax cut to corporations but not addressing the real needs in education. While they have increased education spending it is only a one-time increase, leaving a great big question mark for the future of our provincial public education system,” he said.

- 30 -

CUPE is Canada’s largest union with over half a million women and men who provide public services. In Alberta, CUPE’s 32,000 members work in health care, municipalities, schools, colleges, universities, libraries, emergency medical services, social services and casinos. Visit our CUPE websites for more information www.cupe.ca and www.cupealberta.ab.ca

For further information:
Pam Beattie CUPE Communications
(780) 288-1230 (cellular)
Bruce McLeod CUPE Alberta President
(403) 818-4849 (cellular)