Every week, OPSEU's We Own It campaign publishes a newsletter called The We Own It Weekly. It's a round-up of news and information about the growing movement to protect communities from privatization.
And here's the latest issue:
Help save public long-term care
If you or somebody you love were moving into a long-term care facility, would you prefer one that is private or public?
Most would choose public—they're usually better managed and have better staffing levels.
And since public homes aren't out to make a profit, you don't have to worry as much about corner-cutting and rationing.
In Grey County, which includes Owen Sound, citizens are putting up a strong fight to make sure they can continue to choose public long-term care.
County staff and some councillors are pushing a scheme to sell the public Grey Gables long-term care home, and force residents to move into a privately managed facility farther away.
To stop this scheme, citizens are appealing to Health Minister Eric Hoskins, demanding that he protect their right to choose high-quality public long-term care in their community.
And if public long-term care in your community is in danger of being privatized, please let us know by emailing the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the news
Earlier this week, the provincial government introduced new legislation to transform the correctional system. Among other important reforms, the legislation will outright ban the privatization of jails.
More than a decade ago, the province experimented with privately managed jails when it opened the Central North Correctional Facility in Penetanguishene. It was a disaster.
"I’m particularly glad to see the government acknowledging that its public-private partnerships in building and running jails have been utter failures and costly disasters," said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas in a press release about the legislation.
"The same can be said about its other failed P3 projects. It’s time to stop putting taxpayers’ dollars into developers’ pockets and ensure public infrastructure is built using public workers and public knowhow."
The Legislation, which is called Bill 195, Correctional Services Transformation Act, 2018, has passed first reading.
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher promised that privatization would put business-savvy British firms in control of the country's rail network.
But as The New York Times points out: "Of Britain’s 23 major train operators, 18 are now foreign-run—16 of them by European Union governments and two by China."
Not only does privatization rob British citizens of billions of pounds in revenues from their railways, it also robs them of control, posing "a startling and unprecedented dilemma thanks to Brexit, which will soon divorce Britain from the state bureaucracies beyond the English Channel that literally keep its economy in motion.
It's a classic move in the privatization playbook: drive a public service into debt and disrepair, and then profit from the privatization that follows.
According to The Intercept, that's exactly what's happening right now with the hydro system in Puerto Rico.
Citi Bank “has been profiting from helping push Puerto Rico over the edge for a long time,” says Carrie Sloan, the research director of the Action Center on Race and Economy.
During a conference earlier this month at the University of Philippines, participants heard about the growing momentum around the world to reclaim public services from privatization.
"Over 1,600 cities and municipalities in 45 countries have acted to claim back public utilities and services from private companies," wrote a columnist in BusinessMirror. "Privatization only resulted in spiralling prices, nondelivery of services to the poor and more misery."
We Own It Events
Join We Own It at the Car Rally for Citizens Against the Dump
Saturday, February 24, 10 am to 2 pm, Spencerville
Time to Care rally for quality long-term care
Tuesday, February 27, 12 noon, Queen's Park, Toronto
Kenora Town Hall on Public Services
Wednesday, April 4, 6:30 p.m., Lakeside Inn, Kenora