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OPSEU’s Thomas calls for probe into Wynne government ties to the privatization industry

TORONTO – Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, is calling for a public inquiry into the relationship between the Kathleen Wynne government and the privatization industry in Ontario.

“When the Auditor General says the Liberals have wasted $8 billion on ‘public-private partnerships,’ I can’t help but wonder who is peddling P3s to government and who in government is approving them,” Thomas said. “In dollar terms this is the biggest scandal in Ontario history. We need to get to the bottom of it.”

Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk said yesterday that the Liberals have spent $8 billion more to finance infrastructure projects using P3s than they would have using traditional public procurement. Infrastructure Ontario claims that this difference is related to the pricing of risk, but Lysyk said “no empirical data supports the valuation of the cost of the risks.”

“While Kathleen Wynne claims her government is the most transparent ever, it took the Auditor General to uncover the waste with P3s and privatization with lawyers, accountants and private sector agents paid public dollars by the bucket full as valued public services are starved of funds,” Thomas said. “It’s plain to me that the privatization industry has profound influence over government policy and Wynne’s plans for the province and its services.

“If she is at all serious she won’t wait to call a public inquiry into the lost $8 billion,” Thomas said. “It goes without saying that the government should freeze all P3s currently in process until the public knows how, why, and by whom they are being approved,” he added.

For more information:
Warren (Smokey) Thomas (613) 329-1931