NDP has reintroduced P3 transparency bill

The NDP has reintroduced a bill that would make any public-private partnerships (P3s) the government enters into transparent, accountable and subject to up-front independent value-for-taxpayers evaluations.

NDP Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon introduced The Public-Private Partnership Transparency and Accountability Act last fall, but the government voted to defeat it. Wotherspoon introduced the bill again in the Legislative Assembly this week.

The bill would require an independent accountability watchdog on each P3, and would prevent the government from using the P3 method for major capital projects if there are less than three bidders on the contract. The law would also require the full cost of the project – including the cost of credit – to be reported to taxpayers, as well as an economic analysis – important particularly because bundled P3s will likely shut-out construction companies in Saskatchewan.

“Secret deals are not in the best interest of taxpayers. This law will shine a light on P3s, and getting the facts up front could save taxpayers from higher costs,” said Wotherspoon.

He added that the law is a growing necessity because of the government’s pursuit of P3 projects – including a private rent-a-school scheme for public schools. 
“Renting buildings, paying to cover higher interest rates and paying for decades-long maintenance contracts is typically a more expensive way to build the infrastructure Saskatchewan needs,” said Wotherspoon. “Ultimately, the most common sense way to get those schools built cost-effectively and quickly is by planning to own and operate them ourselves.”
Nova Scotia cancelled its P3 schools plan because the P3 schools cost about $2 million more, per school. Alberta ran into problems with community access for the P3 schools it was renting, and cancelled its P3 plans for its newest flight of schools.

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For more information, contact:
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus