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CUPE Alberta says the province’s new education minister should learn from other provinces and not use P3s to build new schools in Calgary.

CUPE Alberta President D’Arcy Lanovaz reminded Albertans P3s were such a disaster in Nova Scotia that the Conservative government there abandoned it.

In the late 1990s, the Liberal government of Nova Scotia argued that the need for new school construction was so great, they needed to go the P3 route. The Liberals negotiated a deal to build 55 schools using the private sector.

The subsequent Conservative government decided to scrap the Liberal P3 plan after costs increased by $32 million – enough to build three schools.

Not only did Nova Scotians pay more for construction then they would have by conventional financing, but because the deals were so complicated, a number of disputes arose and went to arbitration,” said Lanovaz. “The arbitration results added more costs and resulted in poorer schools.”

CUPE Alberta also pointed to a 1998 New Brunswick auditor’s report, which found that a single school cost $900,000 more as a P3. Read CUPE Alberta’s news releases here and here.