By Chris Mulhall, Southwest Booster, May 29 2015
We are living in interesting times when it comes to how we finance our public services in Saskatchewan. Our government is spending more than ever, but its priorities are misplaced in relation to where the public purse strings are tightened.
Instead of building and owning the schools and hospitals we need, the government is forcing Saskatchewan to use Public Private Partnerships (P3) in which we will pay the full price of construction, and then pay rent anyway while private corporations design, own and operate the asset. That includes schools, our seniors care homes and the psychiatric rehabilitation hospital in North Battleford, to name a few of the public infrastructure projects that will use this model. All of these are critical services to the residents of Saskatchewan, impacting on the health and well-being of our families and of vulnerable people.
Despite record revenues, this government claims we can no longer afford to build and own our own schools and hospitals. They ignore the fact that turning to the rent-a-school scheme costs much more and kids and communities will get much less.
Our home, Saskatchewan, was built with through the combined efforts of families and communities, with the understanding that we have been shaping a society for all of us, with services that belonged to everyone. We built hospitals, schools, highways and a host of other public projects for everyone to benefit from. Generations of families contributed to this shared vision.
Our elected leaders should listen to what we want, and what we hope for. That’s the kind of leadership that built this province. When did this government forget this? When did it forget that Saskatchewan values are values of service to both family and neighbour. Public services should remain owned by all of us.
Chris Mulhall – Wymark
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