This morning, Stephen McNeil’s Liberal government announced their QEII redevelopment plans, which include the eventual decommissioning of part of the Victoria General site and the construction of five new health care buildings in the Halifax area using a P3 model.
This means that a private company will be paid to not only design and build our province’s central health care facilities, but they will finance and maintain the project for 30 years.
“We have needed new health care facilities in this province for a very long time, but this government has chosen the most expensive way to get this project done,” said NSGEU President Jason MacLean.
“Nova Scotians have already wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on other costly P3 projects – more than 30 schools, toll roads, and the Burnside jail, just to name a few. Why are we going down this road again?”
This government’s own former Deputy Minister of Health, Peter Vaughan, is on the record as saying P3 projects are a bad idea. In a document obtained via Freedom of Information, he wrote:
It is difficult to find examples of successful P3s where there are no criticisms. In audits by provincial auditors general it’s been discovered that:
Roads: An estimated more than $300 million in tolls were produced on the Cobequid Pass for a deal in which private financiers put up $66 million. The government is paying an effective Interest rate of 10% for 30 years, twice its rate of borrowing.
Schools: The Dept of Education was criticized for its lack of effective oversight and management of contracts.
DHW: in numerous audits, DHW has been criticized by the Auditor General for its challenges in providing effective oversight and holding entities accountable.
“While we are glad to hear that the public and our members, who deliver care in these buildings each and every day, will finally have safe, new facilities to work and receive treatment in, it is deeply disappointing that this government has decided to allow private companies to profit off of our public health system,” said MacLean.
The NSGEU is committed to working with the employer, the NSHA, to ensure our members’ jobs will be protected when construction is complete on these new facilities.