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Public services are important contributors to the local economy, not just for the people they employ but for the goods and services they purchase from local suppliers. So when the Regina Public Library decided to contract out cataloguing, processing and purchasing, local booksellers joined library workers and patrons in protesting the move.

Staff objected to the delays, errors and inefficiencies of the new system, concerned that patrons wouldn’t have access to the books they need, when they need them. And local merchants who have seen their orders cut wonder why local tax dollars are being spent outside the community.

Increasingly, privateers are from out-of-province — in fact, from outside Canada. So when public services are contracted out, communities pay a double price as jobs and expertise flow out of the local economy — along with the profit.