NDP Demands Transparency in Public-Private Partnerships; Pallister Government’s Legislation Reduces Accountability

The NDP demands that the Pallister government ensure transparency and accountability in public-private partnerships to ensure Manitobans get real value for money on government projects, NDP MLA James Allum said today.

“The Pallister government is failing to ensure that private-public partnerships are subject to public scrutiny,” Allum said. “P3 deals should not be done in secrecy or without assurance that the public’s money is being spent wisely.”

On March 16, the Pallister government introduced legislation that would sweep away existing protections for Manitoba taxpayers, Allum said. The legislation removes mandatory auditor general review of all proposed P3s, opens the door to privatizing public assets and hides projects from public scrutiny, Allum added.

“The province has already demonstrated a lack of transparency by hiding two KPMG reports that are guiding its cuts to health care and other frontline services,” Allum said. “The Pallister Government owes it to Manitobans to publicly explain how it is spending tax dollars. What is it trying to hide?”

Examples of bad P3 deals that ended up burdening taxpayers with heavy losses include:

  • Ontario’s P3 hospital, Brampton Civic, cost taxpayers $200 million more than if it had been publicly financed and built by the province.*
  • In establishing the East Coast toll roads, the Nova Scotia government ended up paying an effective interest rate of 10 per cent for 30 years, which is twice its rate of borrowing. The road will produce an estimated $300 million in tolls for the private financiers, who invested $66 million.*
  • At the Université de Québec à Montréal a P3 failed, doubling the cost to taxpayers to $400 million from $200 million.*
  • In British Columbia, the Sea-to-Sky Highway will cost taxpayers an estimated $220 million more than if it had been financed and operated by the government.*

* Source: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/monitor/problem-public-private-partnerships