CUPE Alberta released a major report this week, challenging the arguments for public private partnerships and detailing the additional costs, which result from turning to the private sector to finance essential public infrastructure.
This report, written by researcher Hugh Mackenzie, reviews priority needs for schools in Calgary and Edmonton and makes the case for conventional public investment to meet these priorities.
“The report lays it on the line,” said CUPE Alberta President D’Arcy Lanovaz. “It points out that if the provincial government were in fact to make available to the school boards the same amount it will be handing over to private business, Edmonton and Calgary boards could build between them, ten additional elementary schools; or eight additional K-9 or junior high schools; or as many as six additional high schools.”
The government has come under fire for this plan. Unions, opposition parties, concerned organizations, and members of the public have argued that private financing will cost more. By contrast, public investment in schools is accountable, transparent and the best use of taxpayers’ dollars.
“The Stelmach government is wilfully ignoring the very significant cost increases associated with P3 financing, an issue that already led to the cancellation of a proposed P3 courthouse,” Lanovaz continued. “While it is inarguable that Alberta children need new schools, a P3 model is far from the best option for Alberta taxpayers.”