Privatization Makes a Bad-news Budget Even Worse
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 18, 2015
PRIVATIZATION MAKES A BAD-NEWS BUDGET EVEN WORSE
The Saskatchewan Party government has released a bad-news budget, made all the worse through widespread and costly privatization schemes.
“The premier will say this budget is balanced, but it is balanced on the backs of working families while corporations get another free ride,” said Larry Hubich, president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL). “Every-day people are being forced to pay more due to increased debt, expensive privatization experiments, and other misplaced priorities,” he added.
The Saskatchewan Party government has wasted millions of dollars on failed privatization schemes such as the ill-fated Lean program, the Smart meter fiasco, scaling back the mandates of our Crown corporations, and outright selling the Saskatchewan Communications Network (SCN) and the Information Services Corporations (ISC) for pennies on the dollar.
“In a time of declining oil revenues, one would expect our government to ensure corporations are paying their fair share of taxes, and to ensure our public services are robust,” said Hubich, “instead we see more giveaways to corporations through private liquor stores and public-private partnerships (P3s) such as privatized schools, a P3 prison in North Battleford, and privatized infrastructure projects like the bypass in Regina and bridges in Saskatoon,” he added.
Contracting out is also a costly form of privatization that the Saskatchewan Party government refuses to scale back.
According to the provincial auditor, Judy Ferguson, the cost of contracting out has increased 228% in the last five years under this government. Ferguson’s report, released December 3, 2014, devotes an entire chapter to the surging use of consultants by the Ministry of Central Services. In 70% of the contracts the auditor reviewed, the government could not document why a consultant was hired. In particular, the Ministry could not explain “why a consultant was needed rather than using in-house resources.”
“The auditor’s report on contracting out shows that rewarding donors and corporations has become the priority of the Saskatchewan Party government, at the expense of the rest of us,” said Hubich, “and these numbers are from 2008-09 to 2013-14, it would be interesting to see if the Saskatchewan Party government’s addiction to costly outsourcing has subsided in light of this year’s bad-news budget,” he added.
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The SFL represents over 100,000 working people across the province in 37 affiliated unions.
For additional information, contact:
Saskatchewan Federation of Labour