Public Services

Quality public services give you a shot at life. They don’t guarantee you’ll succeed or prosper, but they help ensure that no matter if you come from the projects or the posh end of town, you’ll have the opportunity to be successful and prosperous. That you’ll be healthy, educated, and safe enough to live a productive and positive life.

There’s no question about it: quality public services are a fantastic investment. By pooling an appropriate percentage of our common wealth, we achieve incredible buying power and economies of scale. Everything is cheaper—whether it’s health-care, education, justice, scientific research, or retirement security—when bought in bulk.

Year after year over the past generation, however, we’ve been investing less of our common wealth in our public services. In 1992, we invested 52% of our GDP in our public service; in 2012, our investment was down to 41%. As inflation rises and our population grows, our public services are forced to do more with less. The wealthy can still afford education, health, and safety, but more of the rest of us are in danger of falling right through the cracks.

Privatization just makes it worse

Our politicians know our public services are being starved. But they’re frightened to tackle the problem head on with laws that ensure tax fairness. Instead, they offer privatization. Sometimes they call it “social investment bonds,” or “recycling assets,” “public private partnerships," "PPPs" or "P3s", they all boil down to the same shell game:

  • Shuffle the service’s costs out of the politicians’ upcoming budgets

  • With a “financial privacy” sleight of hand, let the corporation do the dirty work of slashing wages, and cutting corners in safety and quality.

There is no evidence that privatization schemes lead to either cost-savings or quality assurance. There is plenty of evidence that privatization schemes end in disaster. The suggestion that the profit motive can serve the interests of the many is flawed at the core.  Only public organizations—organizations that are inherently transparent—can truly serve the interests of the public.

You’re paying for these services. Wouldn’t you rather a say in them through your politicians and your votes than simply give them away to a corporation bent only on squeezing out every drop of potential profit?

 

Stephen Harper “affiliates” with privatization industry firm

Internation law firm Dentons describes itself as having leading P3 privatization scheme lawyers. It is a sponsor member of the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships. And now, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be working for them.

One of Stephen Harper’s qualifications in the eyes of Dentons is that Stephen Harper’s government “made critical investment in infrastructure.” That doesn’t sound like a problem — until you remember that Harper’s government used federal infrastructure funding to push other levels of government to use P3s.

CBC reports: IBM wins $32M Ontario government contract despite delivering problem-riddled software

by Amanda Pfeffer, CBC News

"Union representing Ontario social assistance workers fuming over decision to award another IT contract to IBM.

Despite 18 months of problems associated with the software responsible for tracking Ontarians on social assistance, the Ontario government has awarded a two-year $32-million IT contract aimed at servicing the software to the same company that created it.

The union representing workers using SAMS — short for "social assistance management system" — is not happy that the contract has been awarded to IBM."

Owner of privatized Ontario highway involved in unsafe P3 schools

It's not just the fact that Highway 407 and 17 schools in Edinburgh, Scotland recently closed for safety reasons were privatized that links them together. It's the fact that in both privatization schemes, Ferrovial, a multinational company involved in the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of transport, urban and services infrastructure is a key player.

In Ontario, Ferrovial has a 99-year lease for Highway 407 north of Toronto. Since privatization, tolls have increased rapidly.

Charges laid in Ontario privatization scandal

Two people have been charged with destroying evidence related to the gas plant privatization scandal in Ontario. The charges come after a lengthy investigation into two major players — David Livingston and Larua Miller — in the former Premier, Dalton McGuinty's office.

The scandal involved the relocation of two gas plants for what appeared to be political reasons. Because the much of electricity generation in Ontario has been privatized, costs related to relocating the plants were far higher than they would have been if the plants had been public.

Another privatization scheme fails

The Somerset County Council in Britain is canceling a year early a privatization scheme led by IBM due to serious problems. The Council expects that bringing services back into the public sector will save money.

For Ontario and Nova Scotia residents, the issues that led to the cancellation will be all too familiar.

The secrecy, problems and broken promises are disturbingly similar to a number of privatization schemes involving IBM and Canadian governments.

Deals too good to be true

PS

Quality public services give you a shot at life. They don’t guarantee you’ll succeed or prosper, but they help ensure that no matter if you come from the projects or the posh end of town, you’ll have the opportunity to be successful and prosperous. That you’ll be healthy, educated, and safe enough to live a productive and positive life.

Privatization costs more

A recent Global News report revealed that privatizing food services in Saskatchewan correction facilities will increase costs.

Using data from provincial justice ministries and Statistics Canada, Global found that where food services in correctional facilities have been privatized those provinces are paying more. In Alberta, the cost is 59.4 per cent higher, while in B.C. the cost is 41.4 per cent higher.

First privatized hospital in Britain fails

The company operating the first privatized hospital in the British National Health Service (NHS) has announced it wants to back out of the contract.

Hospital contract not sustainable says Circle

According to the company operating the hospital, Circle,  the £1 billion contract is not sustainable.

In 2012, Circle was given a 10-year contract to operate Hinchingbrooke hospital in Cambridgeshire, England.

Pages