Nov 04 2006

Nice work if you can get it

First you get the money, then you get the power.

Then, after you’ve got the power, you make a law to ensure the money keeps flowing. That seems to be what’s going on with BC Premier Gordon Campbell’s recent public-private purse snatching.

Just before Halloween, our local Liberals, who take such pains to distance themselves from the party of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, took a play out of the federal Grits’ playbook: Partnerships BC, a creation of the BC government, now has the authority to decide whether major public infrastructure projects become public-private partnerships (P3s).

Any infrastructure project worth $20 million or more – essentially, anything worth siphoning a cut off of – will have to consult with Partnerships BC. The unions are predictably up in arms over it. CUPE BC secretary-treasurer Mark Hancock: “This is the organization, remember, that writes the case for P3s, provides advice to the province on P3s, evaluates its own work, provides zero accountability, and has a bonus structure that puts money into their pockets every time a P3 is approved.”

It certainly pays to have friends in high places.

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