Rodney planning to fleece taxpayers says CUPE NS President

    HALIFAX, July 18 /CNW/ - The president of CUPE Nova Scotia is astonished
and perplexed that the premier is touting the Confederation Bridge as a P3
success story in order to justify the provincial government's latest foray
into public-private partnerships.
    "Confederation Bridge cost taxpayers $45 million more than it would have
through public financing," says Danny Cavanagh. "Haven't we already learned
from our mistakes? Wasn't the P3 schools fiasco a hard enough lesson? Why are
we spending even more public money to have a P3-friendly corporation research
public-private options for our hospitals, jails, highways and other
    Local 2330 President Betty Jean Sutherland wrote to Premier Rodney
MacDonald earlier this month questioning his decision to pay $200,000 to
Partnerships BC to look at the viability of more P3 projects for the province.
In his response, the premier cited Confederation Bridge as a "classic example
of a successful P3 project."
    "Has Rodney forgotten the Auditor General's report which declared the
bridge a flawed deal that put the public finances at risk?" asks Cavanagh.
"Has he forgotten about the broken promises such as the federal government's
vow that the bridge would be Canadian built when in reality the developer,
Strait Crossing Development Inc., was 85 percent foreign-owned? Has he
forgotten the secrecy surround the costs and details of the contract, which
only came out through the Auditor General's report? What about the immediate
and dramatic increase in the tolls in the first year?"
    Cavanagh says the plan to have the projects assessed by an agency that
was set up by the Campbell government in BC to promote public-private
partnerships is simply a smokescreen.
    "If there was ever a recipe for being fleeced, public-private
partnerships are it," says Cavanagh. "How can anyone argue that the
Confederation Bridge is a good deal, let alone the premier, who is supposed to
be looking out for tax-payers?"

    Cavanagh is president of the 16,000-member provincial branch of the
Canadian Union of Public Employees.

For further information:

For further information: Danny Cavanagh, (902) 957-0822

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Canadian Union of Public Employees - Atlantic Region

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