Privatization of provincial registries will have huge cost

September 22, 2015

The privatization of the provincial land, motor vehicles, and joint stocks registries will cost Nova Scotia hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue over the coming decades says NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald.

She made the comments after the McNeil government launched its process to sell off the registries earlier today. Previously it’s been reported that the province is seeking 30 to 50 year deals with private companies such as Teranet to operate the registries.

“Yesterday we had a budget update where the Finance Minister admitted that provincial revenues are down, and yet the McNeil government wants to hand over $126 million in annual revenue from the Registry of Motor Vehicles to an out-of-province company,” says MacDonald. “This isn’t going to improve the province’s long-term revenue challenges, it’s only going to make them worse.”

MacDonald points out the Registry of Motor Vehicles is forecasted to generate more revenue this year than the Provincial Lotteries and Casino Corporation. That’s after VLT revenue increased by $14 million as a result of the Liberal government’s decision to eliminate the problem gambling prevention system My Play.

“If the McNeil government was serious about improving our province’s fiscal outlook then it would be working to increase revenue by creating jobs and strengthening public services. Instead it’s focused on petty cuts and privatization. This is hurting our economy, this is hurting our health care system and, as we learned yesterday, this is hurting our provincial coffers,” says MacDonald.

She adds, “Essentially, by privatizing the registries the McNeil government is sacrificing hundreds of millions, if not billions, of future revenue in exchange for a one-time cheque.”