Healthcare Labour Media release

Media release: Nova Scotians will pay a hefty price for private/public partnership plan (P3) for North Sydney and New Waterford healthcare facilities

Halifax, N.S. – Nova Scotia Federation of Labour President Danny Cavanagh says the P3 model is the wrong choice for to build new community health centres and new long-term care facilities in North Sydney and New Waterford and a new laundry centre in North Sydney.

“Why would the McNeil Liberals choose to do the expensive P3 deal and place greater pressure on that health care budget, it doesn’t make sense. We question why we would want to invite consultants and private corporations into the centre of our health care system when they have one main goal, and that’s maximizing their profits. We are concerned that money will be drained away from the system, whether it’s for public health care, or public transportation, education or other services.

“We contend that by using a design-build-finance-maintain approach, it will end up being the most expensive way to get this project done” says Cavanagh.

Cavanagh adds taxpayers need be reminded that this government’s own former Deputy Minister of Health, Peter Vaughan, is on the record as saying P3 projects are a bad idea.

In audits by provincial auditors general, we learned that taxpayers paid an estimated more than $300 million in tolls on the Cobequid Pass where the private sector put up $66 million. The government paid twice the rate of borrowing.

The Liberals never learn. The lesson here is private public partnership (P3) deals are bad for taxpayers. Today we have thousands of people who lack health care services, poverty is rampant across the province and has become worse since 1998 and we have continually heard from our elected governments that we have no money to make things better. At the same time, several corporations were fattening their bank accounts through P3 deals and in our view, that is not right.

“I can’t believe that the McNeil Government is even considering allowing the private sector anywhere near our health care system in light of overwhelming, credible evidence that there is no risk for the private partner who sucks every dollar they can from taxpayers for health care services that operate as public‐private‐partnerships (P3s).

“We have seen time and time again that private deals are proven failures, and the health care system in NS cannot afford that,” says Cavanagh in conclusion.

Danny Cavanagh, NSFL president

The Nova Scotia Federation of Labour is the provincial voice of the Labour Movement, representing 80,000 members in over 400 union locals.