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Opinions on deficit budgeting have become a short-hand litmus test in Canadian politics. Deficits are left-wing and balanced budgets are right-wing austerity. Â Economists know that there is virtually no difference between a small surplus and a small deficit, but politicians and voters areÂ a different story. I have spent the past three and half years railing […]
The Ontario Auditor General’s 2014 Report includes a chapter on Infrastructure Ontario’s P3 program that is particularly damning–and corresponds with many of the criticisms made on this blog and elsewhere by myself and others. While the headlines were that P3 projects cost the province an additional $8 billion than if they were procured traditionally, the […]
Yesterday I blogged about rental housing in Yellowknife, over at the Northern Public Affairs web site.Â Specifically, I blogged about a recent announcement by the city’s largest for-profit landlord that it plans to “tighten” its policies vis-a-vis renting to recipients of “income assistance” (which, in most parts of Canada, is known generically as social assistance).Â […]
Posted by Nick Falvo under aboriginal peoples, Canada's North, competition, Conservative government, corporate profits, employment, Employment Insurance, free markets, homeless, housing, income support, Indigenous people, Northwest Territories, P3s, poverty, prices, privatization, Real Estate, regulation, Role of government, social policy, unemployment.
May 24th, 2014
Earlier this month, I blogged about the At Home/Chez Soi homelessness study prior to the release of its final report. Today I’ve blogged again, this time about the contents of the final report itself.Â This second blog post, being rather long and nuanced, was written for the Homeless Hub.Â It can be accessed at this […]
Posted by Nick Falvo under cities, Conservative government, fiscal federalism, health care, homeless, housing, income support, municipalities, P3s, poverty, privatization, social policy, Toronto.
April 24th, 2014
As the referendum on whether to privatize Reginaâ€™s wastewater plant nears, the Regina Leader-Post is printing a column a day advocating the P3: John Gormley on Friday, Bruce Johnstone on Saturday, and Murray Mandryk today. Johnstone and Mandryk repeat three of the Cityâ€™s key claims. Gormley only gets to one of these claims because he […]
The City of Regina is engaged in a controversial debate about a proposed public private partnership (P3) for the cityâ€™s wastewater plant. Residents formed a Regina Water Watch group to keep the facility public.Â They collected enough names to take the issue to a municipal referendum on September 25th, despite attempts by the city to […]
Canada is now the second biggest market for public private partnerships (P3s) in the world, as a recent Conference Board report showed (on page 30, see my initial critique here). P3s are big business: Canadian governments closed deals on a reported $7 billion in P3 contracts in both 2010 and 2011.Â This was the highest […]
The Queen Cityâ€™s water debate has boiled over since I last blogged about it. City Council decided to build a new wastewater-treatment facility as a public-private partnership (P3), but a group of concerned citizens gathered 24,000 signatures to force a referendum on whether to â€œpublicly finance, operate and maintain the new wastewater treatment plant for […]
The Conference Board of Canada has produced another report on P3s, funded by the federal and provincial P3 agencies and the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships (CCPPP). Unfortunately and sadly predictably, it’s another exercise in largely blissful ignorance promoting P3s, while glossing over or ignoring their major problems. For instance, there’s no mention of […]
Regina City Council has voted to proceed with a 30-year public-private partnership (P3) in which a private company would design, build, finance, operate and maintain the cityâ€™s new waste water treatment facility. The municipal administrationâ€™s rationale has been that, although a P3 will be more expensive than traditional public financing, it is required to access […]
On June 7, I gave a keynote address to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees Education Sector Conference.Â My PowerPoint presentation (with full references) can be found at this link. Points I raised in the address include the following: -Canada’s economy has been growing quite steadily over the past three decades, even when one adjusts […]
Posted by Nick Falvo under BC, competition, Conservative government, corporate income tax, debt, demographics, education, fiscal federalism, fiscal policy, household debt, income distribution, income tax, inequality, macroeconomics, Newfoundland and Labrador, P3s, part time work, post-secondary education, privatization, productivity, public infrastructure, Quebec, rankings, regulation, Role of government, social policy, student debt, student movement, taxation, user fees, working time, young workers.
June 7th, 2012
A few years ago, I wrote an opinion pieceÂ on “pathway colleges”â€”i.e. private companies that recruit students from other countries and then ‘bridge’ them into Canadian universities by providing pre-university courses, including English as a Second Language. A recent CBC News article Â underlines how perilousÂ such recruitment of post-secondary students from abroadÂ can be, andÂ why it is important […]
Last weekend, I spoke on a panel at the Annual Conference of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association.Â The panel was inspired in large partÂ by theÂ recent debateÂ inÂ Toronto over Mayor Rob Ford’s attempt to sell social housing units to private buyers.Â The panel,Â entitled “To Privatize or Not to Privatize? That is the question,” includedÂ myself,Â Vince Brescia (PresidentÂ and CEO […]
Posted by Nick Falvo under capitalism, cities, housing, Ontario, P3s, poverty, prices, privatization, public infrastructure, public services, Role of government, social policy, Toronto.
November 5th, 2011
In light of plans by the Charest government to increase tuition fees in Quebec by 75 percent over the next five years, Eric Martin and Simon Tremblay-Pepin have written a recent article on Quebec tuition fees. The article points out the following: -Though tuition fees in Quebec have been lower than in most other parts […]
On Tuesday night, Peterborough City Council approved a plan for a for-profit corporation to own and operate a new student residence at Trent University.Â I’m concerned that this may signal a new trend at Canadian universities; about a year ago, I blogged about a similar plan at the University of Toronto. I am not opposed […]
Posted by Nick Falvo under education, housing, Ontario, P3s, post-secondary education, privatization, public infrastructure, public sector procurement, regulation, social policy, student debt, student movement, user fees.
August 4th, 2011
David HallÂ at the University of Greenwich in the U.K. recently produced a really good report on Why we need public spending.Â It’s over 70 pages in length, is well-written, has a great deal of really useful material from around the world (including charts and graphics and extensive references) making the argument for why public spending […]
NPR has just published a very nice piece of investigative journalism about the role of the private prisons industry in influencing immigration law in Arizona. The new law, passed last spring, extends the power (and responsibilities) of police officers to scrutinize immigrants, essentially allowing policemen to stop anybody they deem suspicious and ask them for […]
Last month, I bloggedÂ about “pathway colleges,” which are private companies that have been entering into P3 arrangements with Canadian universities in recent years.Â The private company helps recruit international students and then gives the studentsÂ pre-university training.Â If all goes according to plan, the students in question eventually become full-fledged students at the university in question.Â Â […]
I have an opinion piece out on “pathway colleges,” a relatively new phenomenon in Canada.Â In this public-private partnership (P3) model, private companies recruit international students to Canadian universityÂ campuses, targeting students who currently do not meet the universityâ€™s admissions criteria (usually because they lack the necessary English-language skills).Â Once the students arrive in Canada, the […]
Today’s Globe and Mail features an article about the University of Toronto’s plan to turn “to the private sector to solve their campus housing problems” for students.Â In particular, the article refers to a plan whereby the U of T would become “the first university in Canada to erect a large tower offsite with private […]
Two weeks ago I wrote a critique of a very poorly done Conference Board of Canada report on P3s (public-private partnerships).Â Â Â This conference boardÂ study ignored recent major criticismsÂ by provincial auditors general and interviewed almost exclusively P3 proponents. I’m happy to say that two business professors from B.C., Aidan Vining of SFU and Anthony Boardman of […]
The Conference Board of Canada published a report late last month, Dispelling the Myths,Â which purports to show that public-private partnerships (P3s) have delivered major efficiency gains for the public sector, a high degree of cost certainty, and greater transparency than conventional procurement. While the report maintains it provides an impartial assessment of the benefits and […]
While BC has not formally abandoned the P3 model, there is a notable absence of new P3 announcements at a time when billions of dollars are being channeled to infrastructure spending. If P3s really provided value for money and brought the benefits of private sector efficiency and innovation to the delivery of public-sector infrastructure, then […]
Last week, the British Columbia government announced that its $2.5 billion public-private partnership (P3) deal for the Port Mann bridge expansion had failed and that it would now finance the project directly instead. Â Despite the failure of the P3 financier, Macquarie, to put together a deal the Province is still going to pay them […]
For the “we told you so” file. The BC government has been insisting on P3s (so-called “public-private partnerships” where the private sector builds and operates infrastructure) all over the province. We at the CCPA have consistently argued that this practice is foolish: more complicated, more expensive, and leaving taxpayers holding the bag if anything bad […]
The existing pot of infrastructure money offered up by the feds in last year’s federal budget has been criticized for being contingent on a P3 model, aka public private partnership, where design, build and subsequent operation of infrastructure was undertaken by the private sector, and leased back to the public sector over the lifetime of […]