Invest in infrastructure but take a pass on P3s, OPSEU tells Liberals

TORONTO, Nov. 7, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ontario Public Service Employees Union supports continued investment in public infrastructure but is advising the government to "take a pass" on public-private partnerships, known as P3s, to build and finance it.

"It was exactly one year ago today that the Globe and Mail reported that scrapping the Mississauga gas plant resulted in Ontarians paying out $149 million to private hedge funds that hadn't even put up half that amount to build the plants in the first place," said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "Ontarians were paying 14 per cent interest, compounded quarterly, on the debt to build the plant.

"If the Wynne government has learned anything at all from the gas plant fiasco, it should take a pass on P3s and stick with low-cost public borrowing," he said. "Private financing of public infrastructure is profitable for investors but an expensive disaster for the rest of us."

Thomas was responding to remarks today by Premier Kathleen Wynne that the government was keen to expand its use of P3s.

"The provincial government can borrow money for these projects at a lower interest rate than any corporation," Thomas said. "P3s are nothing but a subsidy to money-lenders, paid for by cuts to public services and jobs elsewhere.

"As far as I'm concerned, every new P3 project this government undertakes is a silent scandal that we all need to blow the whistle on."

SOURCE: OPSEU

For further information:

Warren (Smokey) Thomas (613) 329-1931


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