June 3, 2016

P3 Comments 'Willfully Ignorant'

Letter to the Editor in Response to Comments Published in the Corner Brook Western Star

Dear editor: Wayne Lucas’ opinion makes it clear that he neither understands public-­private partnerships nor is he concerned with the interests of Newfoundland and Labrador.

His commentary is filled with errors, misrepresentations and complete fabrications of the P3 model in its various forms and how public-­private partnerships are used in Canada.

His complaint cites examples that are not, and never were P3 projects.

He draws sleight-­of­-hand connection between the P3 model and hospital job cuts and bed closures. There is no direct connection between a procurement model and a hospital staff’s methods of finding operational efficiencies.

He notes the Alberta government’s moratorium on P3s after a “review in that province.” It’s worth noting that the review was primarily conducted through the CUPE viewfinder, which suggests it was neither thorough nor balanced.

He points to international examples as if they have any bearing or are at all comparable to public-private partnerships in Canada. They aren’t.

It’s clear that he has based his arguments on a publication from the University of Calgary, which is a discussion of “the potential theoretical advantages and disadvantages of PPPs.” It is hardly, nor does it claim to be, a comprehensive comparison of the P3 and traditional approach to procurement. We would direct you to work done at the Lawrence National Centre for Policy and Management at the Ivey School of Business for an in-­depth analysis.

Instead, CUPE chooses to ignore facts and misrepresents the obvious and proven benefits of public-private partnerships, twisting unrelated details into the appearance of an argument.

The facts, which Lucas and the public sector unions want to desperately avoid, make it clear that the Canadian P3 model is viewed as best in class around the world. The world comes to Canada to find out how to develop large, complex infrastructure on time and on budget through the appropriate use of public­private partnerships.

P3s guarantee high quality asset management, which means P3 hospitals, highways, bridges, schools and courthouses are well and properly maintained throughout their life cycle. The fixed-­price nature of P3s provides cost certainties not seen in traditionally procured projects.

Between 2003 and 2012, P3s generated $25.1B in direct GDP, nearly $10 billion in cost savings, $7.5 billion in tax revenue to government and more than 290,000 direct full-­time equivalent jobs in Canada.

Willful ignorance of these benefits is to disregard the real needs and issues facing the work force and the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mark Romoff, president and CEO, Canadian Council for Public-­Private Partnerships