Labour Federation urges province to halt privatization plans

By Amy Morris
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For immediate release: Halifax – Nova Scotia Federation of Labour President Danny Cavanagh is calling on the provincial Liberals to reconsider their plans to sell and/or privatize public services in Nova Scotia.

“The McNeil government has to stop defending privatization as a way to get out of debt because the reality is privatization will cost us more.

“Why would we privatize services like home support when in other provinces it’s been a disaster and hasn’t worked?” Cavanagh points out.

He says the proof that privatization does not work is right in front of us. Selling-off profitable services like the land registry and the registry of motor vehicles means this province loses $130 million in revenue. How do we make up for this huge loss?

In 2010 our Auditor General reported that it cost Nova Scotians $54 million more than originally reported for a Private Public Partnership (P3) deal for 39 private schools.  Today, the cost figure is closer to a billion dollars.

We also know we need a new hospital in Halifax. Research that shows privately-built hospitals have 30 per cent less beds than publically built hospitals.

The new hospital in North Bay Ontario is a glaring example of why P3s aren’t good value for money. Since the new hospital opened, 450 nursing and other jobs have been cut and scores of beds closed. In the case of P3 Hospitals, the end result is that patients are getting less hospital care because the P3 construction costs 2-3 times more taxpayers’ money.

Clearly, the Nova Scotia government would have billions of dollars more to invest in infrastructure by not entering into privatization and P3 contracts that will just line the pockets of corporations. This province needs the jobs and the services and we cannot make the mistakes over and over either here and in other provinces. If the Federal Liberals can move away from privatization plans then maybe it’s time for Mr. McNeil and the Provincial Liberals to do the same.

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