VANCOUVER— Premier Gordon Campbell receives a “2008 P3 Champion of the Year” award in Toronto today from the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships (P3s), a special interest group which promotes privatization.
This award comes as questions are being raised about the financial security of B.C. projects. The Council of Canadians, the BC Health Coalition and CUPE BC believe that Campbell’s poor decisions will cost taxpayers and compromise public control over public resources.
Harjap Grewal of the Council of Canadians says that there are financial and social costs to these decisions. “Temporary foreign workers on the P3 Canada (RAV) line have been highly exploited while costs have increased by $300 million. This is not something to celebrate.”
“We wholeheartedly agree that Premier Campbell has been a champion of public-private partnerships. But unlike the privatization pushers, we see this as something that should be condemned rather than celebrated. No amount of spin can change the fact that P3 projects deliver less and are more expensive for the public,” says Barry O’Neill, president of CUPE BC.
In B.C., the Abbottsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre was delayed with massive cost overruns. The Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships includes Sodexho, a company which helped to privatize health care services in B.C. and Veolia Water Canada, which is involved in privatizing water in Canada.
“Research shows that P3 projects face quality problems, bankruptcies, cost overruns, delays, design and construction flaws, and less public accountability. What happens when these projects run into financial problems? The responsibility is shuffled between the government and private companies – in the end, the taxpayers are left holding the bag when cost overruns occur,” said Joyce Jones, community co-chair of the BC Health Coalition.
Contact: Joyce Jones, co-chair, BC Health Coalition; 604-987-0168, (cell) 604.786.7530
Harjap Grewal, BC-Yukon regional organizer, Council of Canadians; 604.340.2455/ 604 688 8846
Dan Gawthrop, CUPE Communications, 604-999-6132
CUPE has released a backgrounder Economic and financial crisis exposes risk of P3s.