October 3rd, 2019

Transparency required from Liberals on P3 schemes

HALIFAX - The NDP Caucus will introduce legislation today to require transparency for the Liberals’ proposed P3 projects. The McNeil government has refused to release details on the cost of P3 highways, hospitals, and healthcare centres.

“The existing evidence on P3s shows they cost more. Whether it is the P3 schools Nova Scotians paid for twice or the Cobequid Pass that residents are still paying for, P3s have been a bad deal for Nova Scotians,” said Susan Leblanc, NDP Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Spokesperson. “The Liberals seem hell-bent on proceeding with P3 projects, while refusing to release the cost of the projects. An NDP government would not use P3s, but since the Liberals plan to do this, the least they could do would be to allow the public to see the details before a contract is signed.”

The P3 Transparency Act would require the provincial government to release the financial details of P3 projects before the contracts are signed, giving the public an opportunity to evaluate whether or not these projects are good value for money. Similar legislation exists in Manitoba.

“With P3s, we pay more and get less,” said Nan McFadgen, President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees NS Division. “P3s put profit ahead of the public interest. Private companies are accountable to their shareholders, not to the public. Our money should be spent investing in public hospitals, roads, schools, and other infrastructure that serve our communities, not a company’s bottom-line.”

A report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Nova Scotia found that the Cobequid pass cost $232 million more to build as a result of using a P3 model. The report also estimates that the 104 twinning project will cost $66.6 million more as a P3 than a traditional public build.