Liberal government ignoring evidence on P3s

January 25, 2017

For immediate release.

January 25, 2017

HALIFAX – The Liberal government should stop considering public-private partnerships (P3) given the evidence on the high costs and lack of oversight with P3s in Nova Scotia and across the country. The Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal announced today that the government will consider a P3 model for the QEII redevelopment project.

“We’re still cleaning up the mess made of P3 schools by the Liberals twenty years ago and now the Liberals want to use P3s for our hospitals,” said Sterling Belliveau, NDP Critic for Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

In a briefing note on P3s, former Deputy Minister of Health Peter Vaughn highlights, “It is difficult to find examples of successful P3s where there are no criticisms.” Vaughn cites several examples of where public-private partnerships resulted in higher costs for the public, including:

  • The Cobequid Pass, where motorists have spent $300 million on tolls, while private financers put up only $66 million and the government is paying an effective interest rate that is twice its rate of borrowing;
  • A P3 hospital in Brampton, Ontario, which cost the public $200 million more than if it had been built directly by the province and financed publicly; and
  • A P3 project at the Université de Québec à Montréal that doubled public costs from $200 million to $400 million.

“The evidence on P3s is crystal clear: they cost more than public projects,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “There is no credible reason for the Liberal government to be considering a P3 approach for public infrastructure.”

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts is also meeting today to discuss the issue of public-private partnerships in the health care system.

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For more information, please contact Kaley Kennedy at 902-229-6881 or kaley.kennedy@novascotia.ca.