Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Thomas Mulcair in Contempt of Greenpeace, Maude Barlow and Canines

On March 24, 2005, the following items were tabled in the Quebec National Assembly.  Copy of a letter, dated 24 March 2005, he sent to Mr. Jacques Saint-Laurent,Chairman of the Commission d’accès à l’information, asking him to investigate the conduct of Mr. Thomas Mulcair, Minister of Sustainable Development, the-environment and Parks, during Routine Proceedings, at ...

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Thomas Mulcair in Contempt of Greenpeace, Maude Barlow and Canines

On March 24, 2005, the following items were tabled in the Quebec National Assembly.  Copy of a letter, dated 24 March 2005, he sent to Mr. Jacques Saint-Laurent,Chairman of the Commission d’accès à l’information, asking him to investigate the conduct of Mr. Thomas Mulcair, Minister of Sustainable Development, the-environment and Parks, during Routine Proceedings, at ...

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Laila rules

Almost a year ago, blogger Laila Yuile reported on retaining wall defects along the Sea to Sky Highway. Pictures were included: Troubling photos spark Ministry of Transportation inspections of Sea to Sky retaining walls, creating new concerns over Kiewit construction. Laila followed that with additional information, including: Sea to Sky retaining wall questions continue as ...

OPSEU Diablogue: Wynne and Clark cling to discredited P3s despite damning report

Infrastructure Ontario CEO Bert Clark says the $8 billion premium the government spent to build public infrastructure under the public-private partnership model doesn’t tell the whole story. He’s right, but likely not in the way he’s suggesting. Remarkably Tuesday night … Continue reading →

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: You can’t handle the truth: BC Liberals

Site C not necessarily a slam dunk: Bennett, Business in Vancouver, October 15, 2014 “Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett says he is still torn on whether his government should give the green light to BC Hydro’s $7.9 billion Site C hydroelectric dam…” Vaughn Palmer quoting Bill Bennett, The Vancouver Sun, October 17, 2014 “Despite ...

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: All the spin that’s fit to print

This week, British Columbia saw evidence that corporate media does not report adverse details about public finance unless the material is dropped on desks in digested form, complete with defensive spin from government or industry. The issue of BC taxpayer subsidies to the oil and gas industry is not new. Auditor General John Doyle qualified ...

Northern Insight: Sea to Sky Highway subsidy $12-$15 each vehicle

News item, June 10, 2005: “VANCOUVER (CP) – The British Columbia government has signed a deal with a transportation consortium to design, build and manage improvement to the Sea-to-Sky Highway north of Vancouver. “Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon said the project is on time and on budget after he announced the $400 million agreement with the ...

Northern Insight: At least Liberal inconsistency is consistent

BC’s recent Budget and Fiscal Plan states total provincial debt is $63 billion. This amount, 62% higher than in 2009, is 27.3% of gross domestic product. Five years ago, the ratio was 18.7%. By any standard, that is rapid debt growth. Unfortunately, those numbers present only part of the story. In addition to admitted debt, ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Hospital P3 scandal gets worse, but Ontario Liberals and PCs say bring on more!

The public private partnership (“P3”) hospital scandal in Montreal is getting even worse, if that is possible.  As reported earlier, a police corruption investigation showed how SNC-Lavalin officials allegedly arranged payments of $22.5-million to McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) chief executive Arthur Porter and his side-kick Yanai Elbaz in exchange for ensuring SNC won the ...

Cowichan Conversations: No Guarantee P3 Financing For Community Centre Will Save Money

Rob Douglas Built almost 40 years ago, the Cowichan Community Centre (now known as the Island Savings Centre) provides Cowichan residents with a swimming pool, hockey arena, gymnasium, library, art gallery, and a performing arts theatre. Local officials anticipate the facility will require significant renovations or replacement within the next decade-and-a-half, and the Cowichan Valley ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Are hospitals primarily providers of acute care?

Hospitals are often stereotyped as providers of acute care services.  In fact, acute care accounts for a relatively small portion of total hospital services. As noted a few days ago,  costs per acute care patient (or, more exactly, per “weighted case”)  in Ontario are significantly below the national average, coming in at $5,174  in 2010-11 ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Are Ontario P3 projects plagued by corruption?

A commission of inquiry has heard that SNC-Lavalin deliberately went around Quebec’s political party financing rules, leading to a flurry of donations to the governing Quebec Liberal Party in 2009. The donations came as the engineering firm was bidding on a major hospital construction project, the media reports. What is not reported, however, is that ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Ontario P3 fiasco: $90 million cost to finance $59 million loan

The majority of the costs reported by the Auditor General for the cancellation of the Mississauga gas plant were payments to the U.S. based investment firm that provided financing for the project — $149.6 million. The private company doing the project (Greenfield) negotiated expensive financing for the project with this U.S. investment firm — 14% annual interest. Compared ...

Defending Public Healthcare: P3 transparency? Hardly: private profit prefers privacy

The corruption scandal rocking a public private partnership (P3) hospital project in Quebec has raised some significant doubts about P3s in Canada. Over the weekend even the normally pro-privatization Financial Post ran a story considering such doubts. They allowed that the size and scope of P3 projects may make the projects a magnet for greed. (Or perhaps, ...

Defending Public Healthcare: P3 corporations give award for crap financing deal

Nouveau CHUM The Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships has honoured the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), the Collectif Santé Montréal (CSM) and Infrastructure Québec with its 2012 “Gold Prize” for financing construction of the new CHUM. Nouveau CHUM Apparently, the award goes for the project with the worst financing.  As  Luc Fouquette, the ...

Defending Public Healthcare: P3 costs rise as scandal sours investors

MUHC The Washington Post reports that the sales “of Canadian project-finance bonds are lower this year as an ongoing investigation of alleged corruption in the Quebec construction industry makes the debt more expensive to issue.” The American paper adds that the “inquiry into corruption in the Quebec construction industry, which led to the resignation of ...

Defending Public Healthcare: P3 hospital debts threaten quality of health care

Patients in Britain could see their health care services cut as a result of botched public private partnership (P3) hospitals.    The Public Accounts Committee of the British House of Commons has flagged special concern about the “unaffordable” P3 deals.   Public Accounts Chair Margaret Hall said, “We are particularly concerned that the financial viability of ...

Defending Public Healthcare: P3 deals are "millstones" says Health Minister

The growing crisis of public private partnership (P3) hospitals in Britain has now forced the health minister to announce that he will be sending in “hit squads” to make savings at twelve hospitals where the P3 contracts have gone “horribly wrong” the conservative Daily Telegraph reports.  This is a follow up from the government’s February announcement that the twelve ...

Song of the Watermelon: Stephane Dion’s Shiny New Voting System

Did I read that right? Did Stephane Dion, former head of the Liberal Party of Canada, just come out in favour of proportional representation? Better late than never! Well, that’s not entirely fair. Dion has shown a willingness to consider electoral reform in the past, as he did by backing the resolution in favour of ...