Privatization, P3s & public services

Public private partnerships under increasing attack in the UK

Aug 19, 2011
While British Columbia continues to invest billions in public private partnerships(P3s), a UK Parliamentary Committee today told its government to “wean itself off the practice.”  The Treasury Select Committee found: We have not seen clear evidence of savings and benefits in other areas of PFI projects which are sufficient to offset this significantly higher cost of… View Article

Deconstructing BC’s carbon neutral government

Jul 13, 2011
Besides the carbon tax, one of the most important BC government climate action initiatives has been the adoption of Carbon Neutral Government. That is, count emissions from public buildings and travel, reduce them as much as possible and pay for carbon offsets to negate the rest. As of the 2010 calendar year, the BC government… View Article

Hiding $5 Billion

Jun 23, 2011
A reporter from back East called me yesterday to ask about the B.C. Auditor General’s May report into a Vancouver Coastal Health Authority P3. As Keith Reynolds pointed out, the AG found that the actual costs of the P3 were much higher than what the Coastal Authority and Partnerships BC had said they would be…. View Article

Suspicion about private finance schemes growing in the UK

Jun 2, 2011
On May 16th British Columbia’s Auditor General published a report on Vancouver General Hospital P3 that raised serious doubts about public private partnerships in British Columbia.  In the UK, where P3s have been around a lot longer, the doubts are getting even graver. Under P3s, or private finance initiative (PFI) as they are known in… View Article

Reading the tea leaves in a Cabinet shuffle

Mar 15, 2011
Figuring out what the changes in a Cabinet shuffle mean is a lot like reading tea leaves: you can find just about anything you can imagine. Christy Clark’s first Cabinet announced yesterday is no exception. That being said, there are some things that stand out as pretty strong likelihoods. First of all it looks like… View Article

How flipping equity in P3s boosts profits and ends up with the projects being run from Channel Islands tax havens

Mar 9, 2011
Just like good stilton cheese, public private partnerships (P3s) were imported to British Columbia from the United Kingdom.  And like good stilton, in the UK P3s are starting to smell. In 2003, as part of its privatization agenda, BC’s government created Partnerships BC as a private company owned by the Ministry of Finance.  Partnerships BC’s… View Article

Tradable Water Rights – Coming to a province near you

Mar 5, 2011
In January of this year, the BC government joined Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba to become the fourth province to announce that it is considering creating tradable water rights as a way of curbing use and improving the efficiency of allocation. The announcement came as a vague reference to “water markets” in the latest draft of… View Article

Lib leadership contender ill informed or misleading on P3s

Jan 12, 2011
George Abbott has become the first of the BC Liberal leadership contenders to talk about the use of Public Private Partnerships (P3s) to deliver public facilities and services.  Unfortunately, Abbott’s comments suggest either that he doesn’t understand how these projects are being imposed or he is misleading the interviewer.  The government’s preferred P3 model is… View Article

Why incentive pay won’t fix education or health care

Oct 14, 2010
It turns out — surprise! — that it’s really hard to measure quality in complex social systems and that employing simplistic quantitative measures can backfire. That’s the take-home message from a recent talk by UC Berkley economist and public policy professor Jesse Rothstein who came to SFU to present his latest research on using standardized… View Article