Cam Broten announced Tuesday that he plans to shut down the wasteful privatization ministry – a $15-million per year bureaucracy the Sask. Party opened only to push privatization and pricey P3 rent-to-own schemes.
By closing the ministry, which the Sask. Party calls SaskBuilds, the province will save $15.1 million per year. Broten said half of that amount would be used to rebuild the gutted Highways and Infrastructure Ministry.
“Saskatchewan people didn’t ask the Sask. Party to start selling off things we all own, or contracting out jobs to foreign corporations, but they’ve started to do that in a big way,” said NDP Leader Cam Broten. “And while a few corporations will make millions, we’ll lose control over our own schools. We’ll lose the profits from our liquor stores. And with foreign corporations building and managing things like roads to hospitals, millions of dollars and lots of mortgage-paying jobs will leave the province.
“Mr. Wall sure didn’t tell us he had a plan to start selling off Crowns and contracts, so now Saskatchewan people are wondering what he’ll privatize next.”
Under the more expansive privatization, or P3 model, the Regina bypass price has already jumped to $2 billion from $400 million. The construction price to replace the Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford is 17 per cent higher as a P3 than it would be if we the province built and owned it, according to the Sask. Party’s own disclosure. And maintenance costs for brand new facilities on 30-year P3 rental contracts are outrageous. For the North Battleford hospital, the maintenance alone will cost more per year for one P3 hospital than the entire health region currently spends on maintenance.
“Instead of just hiring a maintenance worker, the Sask. Party is paying a markup to a corporation in the United Kingdom to hire a maintenance worker. Instead of hiring a construction firm, the Sask. Party is paying a corporation in France to hire a construction firm to come into Saskatchewan,” said Broten. “How on earth is there any common sense in that? It shouldn’t have been called SaskBuilds – it should have been called EuropeBuilds Sask.
“When a government starts turning Saskatchewan property and projects over to private corporations, it’s pretty clear who their priority is – and it’s not Saskatchewan taxpayers, anymore.”
The privatization ministry was created in October 2012 by the Sask. Party. Its board is made up entirely of Sask. Party cabinet ministers and MLAs, with a Sask. Party minister responsible for it.