McNeil government needs to come clean about future of P3 schools

October 9, 2015

Karen Casey needs to come clean about what she intends to do with the P3 school contracts signed by a Liberal government in the 1990s, says NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald.

MacDonald says she was surprised to learn that Casey hasn’t evaluated the fiscal impact of the contracts, given that she is the chair of the provincial Treasury Board. Beginning on November 30, 2015 the government is obligated to make a decision on a total of 39 P3 contracts over the next two years.

“Given the sheer volume of schools involved, the McNeil government needs to release its plan for dealing with the contracts,” says MacDonald. “Families across the province shouldn’t be left in the dark about the future of their schools. With so much at stake the Chair of the Treasury Board, who also happens to be the Education Minister, can’t just sit on her hands. There needs to be a plan and there needs to be consultation with the public.”

Under the contracts, the government has three choices: Pick up the $230 million worth of options on the schools and take ownership; agree to continue the leases which have already cost the province $830 million; or the government can simply allow the contracts to end, which would result in school closures.

“The Liberals agreed to these contracts in the 1990s as a way to pretend they were balancing the books, but they ended up costing taxpayers more than if the province owned the schools” says MacDonald. “Now it’s up to Minister Casey and Premier McNeil to decide whether or not they want to repeat the same mistakes of past Liberal governments.”