News (87)

Privatization scheme bribery case ends with guilty plea on least serious charge

A series of criminal trials over a bribery scandal over a P3 privatization scheme ended last week with people admitting that $22.5 million in bribes were paid, but with no one being convicted of actually paying them. For those naïve enough to believe that the justice system does a good job of policing the privatization industry, it was a very bad week.

Source: PSI

The idea of a partial privatization of Canada’s health system

A senior official of the Ontario Medical Association, Dr. Charles S. Shaver, has floated the idea of a partial privatization of Canada’s health system in an op-ed. “One thing Canada can do less expensively than the United States is deliver health care. Much more controversial is whether to amend the Canada Health Act to permit a limited amount of privatization for residents of Canada. Each provincial medical association could coordinate this by polling its members and asking persons to identify themselves if they have ever worked in nations with blended public/private health care systems. Those with first-hand knowledge of such systems would be invited to participate in town hall meetings across each province. They would field questions concerning the pros and cons of health delivery in each country. If the public then became more receptive to modifications of our current single-payer system, politicians might more openly support these proposals.”

CUPE NS calls for transparency legislation governing public-private partnerships

CUPE Nova Scotia calls for transparency legislation governing ‘public-private partnerships.’ “The recommendations are based on research and discussion coming out of a panel discussion on P3s and transparency held in Halifax on November 13, 2018. ‘We need to stop the drain on our finances, and one of the first steps we can take is to legislate disclosure in reporting how our money is spent,’ says CUPE Nova Scotia President Nan McFadgen. ‘There should be no secrets when public money is spent on public infrastructure and services.’”

Source: Canadian Union of Public Employees

CUPE is raising concerns about the lack of transparency at Canada’s infrastructure bank

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is raising concerns about the lack of transparency at Canada’s infrastructure bank. “Bank CEO Pierre Lavallée recently told a friendly crowd at the annual conference of the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships the bank has looked at 55 potential projects – half of which are unsolicited ideas from corporations designed to feed their bottom lines, not serve the public interest. (…) With work clearly underway behind the scenes, Canadians need full transparency about the bank and the projects it’s considering. The CIB takes aim at our roads, bridges, water and transit systems, and will hand unprecedented control of critical projects to for-profit corporations. As Canadians, we’ve built this infrastructure together. It belongs to us all, and it’s not for sale.”

Source: Canadian Union of Public Employees

No evidence that P3s will save money or be in best interest of province’s people

The NDP is denouncing the Ontario government for declaring that it will it will use a public-private design, build, finance, and maintenance P3 model to build the Waterford hospital replacement. NDP Leader Gerry Rogers “says EY was paid $1.7 million to evaluate the best financial model for building a P3 facility in Corner Brook. EY drew up comparison budgets and then recommended a P3 project. Government then gave the same firm the procurement contract for this new project. ‘Can he explain this very apparent conflict of interest?’ Rogers asked of the Premier. ‘Will he invite the Auditor General to review the P3 contracts now going forward and report to the House on her findings?’”

Source: NL NDP

Why pay more to get less? P3 deal wrong way to build highway

Nova Scotia highway workers, represented by CUPE 1867, have launched a radio ad “asking the province not to use a public-private partnership (P3) to construct a new stretch of Highway 104.” Steve Joy, president of CUPE Local 1867, “says while he is pleased with the highway twinning project that is long overdue, he still has concerns about public safety when it comes to contracting out snow and ice removal. ‘Will this highway be maintained to the same high standards as our public roads if the contractor decides to cut corners or wages to turn a profit?’ “Also, can a private, for-profit company clear and maintain highways for less than our own Department of Transportation?’ asks Joy.”

Source: Canadian Union of Public Employees

Rally to rebuild and improve our public health care

The Ontario Health Coalition has called a rally to rebuild and improve public health care. “[Premier] Ford’s appointment of infamous privatizer Gordon Campbell as financial guru, was a tell-tale sign of his real priorities,” they say. “Under Campbell’s leadership, B.C. became ground zero for health care cuts and privatization in Canada—long waits and user fees are rampant. That’s not the Ontario we want. Now is our time to take a stand; to make it impossible for this government to cut and privatize our health care system.” The Ontario NDP has warned that “Ford’s health minister is warning of a ‘system transformation’ for Ontario’s health care. That means health care cuts and privatization.”

"Privatization is the biggest boondoggle of our lifetime"

Smokey Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), expresses alarm at the release of a report by EY, the consulting firm, that he says will be used by the Ford government “as a pretext to make devastating cuts in the public and broader public sectors.” He says “privatization is the biggest boondoggle of our lifetime.” Among his recommendations to Ford is to “end privatization and costly public-private partnerships that have been an $8-billion-dollar disaster.”

Privatization of hospital services prevented in New Brunswick

Hospital privatization has been blocked in New Brunswick. The New Brunswick government officially rejected the Sodexo takeover of management of food, cleaning and patient portering services in New Brunswick hospitals. “After petitions, rallies, meetings, citizen advocacy, our efforts to halt privatization have been successful,” said Norma Robinson, President of CUPE 1252, the New Brunswick Council of Hospital Unions.

Source: Canadian Union of Public Employees

Want to Fight Inequality and Climate Change? Then Improve Public Services

Asked to imagine how we might solve the crises of climate change or inequality, it’s not the first solution that comes to mind. But our public services are among the most effective ways we have to build communities that are vibrant, green and inclusive. That’s the message of The Future is Public, a conference taking place in Montreal in mid-June with coast-to-coast and international participation. There’s a good reason why this role of public services isn’t immediately obvious to many people. We’ve been beset by decades of corporate propaganda that tells us public services are inefficient and irrelevant. That our lives will be improved not by government, but by private businesses.

Source: The Tyee

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