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The Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships launched its annual conference this month by releasing a poll that claims to show growing Canadian support for P3s. They got the answers they wanted by asking selective, hypothetical questions about privatization of public services, including water, hospitals, roads and other community infrastructure.

The poll’s central question assumes P3s don’t come with access, cost and quality concerns – a major stretch, considering experiences in Canada, Australia and Britain. The Environics poll also doesn’t ask crucial questions about transparency, oversight and public scrutiny of secret P3 deals.

This poll leads Canadians down the garden path,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist. “It flags the infrastructure crisis and then promotes P3s as the only ‘solution’. Let’s give Canadians the whole story. P3s develop and operate under an undemocratic cone of secrecy. Canadians have a right to decide how their tax dollars are spent, and how their services are run.

When the facts do get out, P3s are revealed for the bad deals they are.”