November 7th, 2019

Switch to traditional builds for Cape Breton health centres the right call

HALIFAX -- Plans to construct two new health centres in Cape Breton through traditional builds instead of as public private partnerships (P3) are welcome news. The NDP has been calling on the Liberal government to stop using P3s, especially when dealing with health infrastructure.

“We’re glad to see this government change its mind and go with a traditional build for the health centres,” said NDP Transportation and Infrastructure spokesperson Susan Leblanc. “We’ve said all along that traditional builds are cheaper, can be faster, and are a better use of public funds. Now, we’d like to see the same change of heart for the QEII redevelopment in Halifax and the highway 104 twinning project.”

A report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that the Cobequid Pass cost $232 million more to build as a result of using a P3 model. Reports from across the country show hospitals built through P3 deals often cost more and limit public control of health infrastructure.

“Privatizing health care infrastructure is the wrong choice for Nova Scotia,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “The QEII project is a massive undertaking and to give up control of that facility for the length of a 30-year lease means less transparency, less flexibility and less control over the largest hospital in our province.”

The Auditor General of Ontario found that 74 P3 projects in that province cost $8 billion more than if they had been built through the public sector.