It's time to stop the sale of federal government buildings



    OTTAWA, June 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Today is the closing day for bids on nine
choice pieces of federal government real estate in some of Canada's hottest
markets. The sell off is a bad deal for Canadians but it can and must be
stopped says the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).
    The Conservative government is in the process of selling off federal
government buildings and arranging to lease them back for 25 years.
    "The Conservatives are willing to trade short-term cash gain for
long-term taxpayer pain," says PSAC National President John Gordon. "Rent
payments over the life of the leases will be double the sale price."
    The government will be guaranteeing rent for 100% of the space for 25
years. "Where is the incentive to find tenants at the Skyline Complex in
Ottawa, a property on the block that currently has an occupancy rate of less
than 10%, when taxpayers are picking up the tab?" says Gordon.
    This is a sweet deal for the winning bidder if the sale goes through. At
the end of 25 years, the bidder will have re-couped its investment and more
through rent, paid nothing for maintenance which is the responsibility of the
federal government tenant, and own extremely valuable buildings and real
estate in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. At the
end of 25 years, the government will have spent much more than they received
and have nothing to show for it.
    According to the PSAC, this is such a bad deal, it's no wonder the whole
business is being conducted under a veil of secrecy. All documents are
confidential. The asking price is secret. The identity of a third-party being
brought in to judge the fairness of the sale is secret. Questions such as why
are the same bankers who recommended the sale acting as the government's real
estate agents are being left unanswered.
    Because they're not getting any answers, the House of Commons Standing
Committee on Government Operations and Estimates has asked the government to
place a moratorium on the sale of the proposed buildings until the Committee
is given the relevant impact studies and information.
    "The Conservatives continue to insult Canadians and abuse the
Parliamentary Committee process by refusing to come clean about the sale and
lease-back of these buildings," says Gordon. "They're not interested in
hearing from anyone who might challenge their plan."
    PSAC is calling for more than a moratorium. "We believe this is a bad
deal for Canadians and we're calling on the Conservative government to stop
the sale once and for all," says Gordon. "Canadians will not be well-served by
this sale. Maintaining ownership makes economic sense and preserves and
protects public assets."




For further information:

For further information: Louise Laporte, PSAC Communications, (613)
558-4975


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