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In a letter to the editor, Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan, challenges recent claims surrounding the Regina wastewater treatment plant public-private partnership (P3) currently under construction.

Letter: P3s need scrutiny

Published October 21, 2014 in The Leader-Post.

In his Oct. 8, column (“P3 projects need more scrutiny”), Murray Mandryk states that the Regina waste water treatment plant public-private partnership “has unquestionably worked” because the yet-to-be-built plant, which includes a 30-year operation and maintenance contract with a private company, is supposedly coming in under the city’s initial budget.

The claim we will save $138 million (including the subsidy of $48.2 million federal tax dollars) by using a P3 model before the project is built and the full costs of the lifespan of the contract are realized raises one obvious question: based on whose figures?

It turns out the accounting firm Deloitte – which also happens to be a sponsoring member of the leading lobbying organization for the P3 industry – has determined in these early stages that the waste water P3 will save money without releasing details on how it arrived at this conclusion. I think it is fair to ask how an accounting firm that signs on to promote P3s can offer an independent analysis.

P3 privatization schemes do need more scrutiny. It should be crystal clear from the evidence of costly P3 mistakes across Canada that they are a great way for investors to make money and the worst way to provide public infrastructure and services.

Tom Graham
President, CUPE Saskatchewan Division