NDP tables P3 transparency and accountability bill

Trent Wotherspoon, the NDP’s education and finance critic, has tabled a bill that aims to make public-private partnerships (P3s) transparent, accountable and subject to up-front independent value-for-taxpayers evaluations.

Bill 605, The Public-Private Partnership Transparency and Accountability Act, will require an independent accountability watchdog on each P3, and will 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.

“There should be no public money spent without public accountability,” said Wotherspoon. “Secret deals are not in the best interest of taxpayers. This law will shine a light on P3s so legislators and Saskatchewan families will have all the facts.”

Wotherspoon said the bill was made necessary because the government is pursuing P3 projects – including using private operation and maintenance of public schools.
“Time is of the essence. This government is already two years late when it comes to building new schools -- the NDP believes the most common sense way to get those schools built cost-effectively and quickly is by planning to finance, own and operate them ourselves,” said Wotherspoon.
“Getting the facts up front on a P3 project could save taxpayers from higher costs. These contracts last for decades – the time to learn the lessons that other provinces have learned is before this government signs a 30-year contract, not after.”
Bill 605 received first reading Monday. The NDP hopes to bring the legislation to a vote, and encourages cooperation from the government.

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For more information, contact:

Erin Morrison, NDP caucus