Corporations and some public sector employers have formed the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships (CCPPP). The goal of the council is to promote PPPs to governments and the Canadian public. The Councils membership includes Laidlaw, Philip Services, Serco and Price Waterhouse, all of which have been advocating and benefiting from privatization and contracting out. The councils membership also includes some Canadian municipalities that employ CUPE members.
The Sales Pitch
Boosters claim that PPPs will:
- Allow governments to avoid or eliminate debt.
- Provide services and infrastructure at less cost.
- Assure the newest and most efficient technology.
- Speed the completion of projects.
The truth is that PPPs often have very little to do with service or efficiency. Rather they allow government to give the appearance of an improved financial situation while offering corporations reduced taxes, a captive market and a guaranteed income.
The federal and many provincial governments support the move towards PPPs. Their policies have helped to set the stage for PPPs by cutting transfer payments and downloading services. Faced with tighter budgets and downloading, many local governments and other public sector employers are receptive to the idea of PPPs.
As well, the mindset of the senior bureaucrat has changed significantly. While PPPs threaten the jobs of public sector workers, senior managers often make the switch from managing services to managing contracts without a loss in salary, benefits or prestige. Recent surveys indicate that a large majority of senior bureaucrats see PPPs as an attractive service delivery option in their community or sector.