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Three top contenders for mayor and more than 50 municipal candidates attended a forum on public private partnerships hosted by municipal workers in Ottawa on October 8.

The goal of the event, organized by CUPE 503 was to ensure that all of the candidates were informed about the impact of private public partnerships on delivering quality affordable services to the people of Ottawa.

We wanted to encourage a truly informed discussion on the issue of privatization of public services,” said Brian Madden, president of Local 503 which represents 7,000 city employees. “We wanted our future councilors to get all of the information about the impact of private public partnerships on the services we deliver to the people of Ottawa.”

Candidates and community groups heard from several experts on the topic including John Loxley, a professor at the University of Manitoba and award winning author of Public Service Private Profits and Pierre Hamel, a  professor and researcher with the Institut national de la recherche scientifique. Both are authors of major studies on the impact of private-public partnerships on the delivery of quality public services.

Private-public partnerships often involve multi-decade contracts for private management of public services. Loxley and Hamel warned that these deals often leave municipalities with hidden debt, escalating costs, loss of public control and poor service delivery.