FIQ (Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec)

Public-private partnerships… who is using who?

Following the most recent revelations regarding allegations of corruption and collusion in the construction industry, the Charest government maintains that the sheriff is about to catch the bad guys. This very convenient position has the advantage of putting the blame on individuals without necessarily looking at a system that allowed the bad guys to become bad guys.

It is worth saying this obstinate will to preserve, at all cost, a system where the private sector is able to dictate public orientations, to monitor their application and to reap the profits while leaving the losses to the taxpayers is shown in the pursuit of, and addition of public-private partnerships (PPP), among others.

Thus, we have recently learned that the government intends to proceed with the construction of about twenty highway rest areas as PPPs. Not counting the three other CHLSDs as PPPs expected in the near future in the Montérégie region. For this reason, if the CHSLD St-Lambert-sur-le-golf has barely made us aware of these excesses that the PPPs can cause, the British are at a whole other level.

After celebrating the inauguration of 700 PPP projects (including 120 in health care) over the last 10 years, the British now have a hangover and are faced with a real financial bomb. Already in 2009, a directive from the British health minister that ordered public institutions to carry out budget cuts of at least 15 billion pounds (about $24 billion Canadian) by 2014 in order to be able to pay the bill of the PPPs. Now, it seems that that will not be enough, because about sixty PPP healthcare institutions will be bankrupt , threatening the longevity of public finances and services to the population more than ever.

Even if Québec has not yet reached such a stage, it must be said that we are heading in the same direction, as seen with the $800 million cuts, which include half in healthcare and education in order to make up for… the increase in construction costs ! Lastly, if the British model is to be avoided, other models are available to us. Like the Tunisian model, for example… When will it end?