Saskatchewan

Sask. opposition says P3s should be scrapped

Saskatchewan's opposition says evidence continues to mount that public-private partnerships are more expensive than building schools, hospitals and other infrastructure projects the traditional way.

Ontario's auditor general finds $8B more spent on 74 projects

Saskatchewan's opposition says evidence continues to mount that public-private partnerships are more expensive than building schools, hospitals and other infrastructure projects the traditional way.

The NDP is calling again for the Saskatchewan government to scrap its plans to finance a number of projects this way, including nine new schools, after the auditor general in Ontario released her latest findings.

The annual report, released by Bonnie Lysyk on Tuesday, found that using a P3 model to pay for 74 infrastructure projects cost $8-billion more than if the government had successfully managed them itself.

But the government of Saskatchewan says traditional procurement has resulted in cost overruns and delays.

"There's some significant savings to the taxpayers of Saskatchewan when projects can be delivered on time and on budget," said SaskBuilds Minister Gord Wyant. "We see time and time again, with traditional procurement, projects are going over budget, they're not being delivered on time and that doesn't give value for taxpayers."

Wyant says the government of Saskatchewan will only proceed with a public-private partnership if it is shown to provide good value for money.

Value-for-money assessments based on no 'empirical evidence'

However, the auditor's report in Ontario found that value-for-money assessments were estimating risk of public-managed projects at five times that of privately-managed ones. That assumption was, the report says, "not based on any empirical data that supports the valuation of the risks" but rather on the advice of consultants. 

NDP MLA, Trent Wotherspoon, says that kind of math is game-playing by governments determined to go ahead with the P3 model.

"On the front end really doing a charade with the public, misleading the public, but the reality has been something that we should avoid. The reality is that these cost an awful lot more," Wotherspoon said.

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