July 31, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WINNIPEG - Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont announced that a Manitoba Liberal Government will have a policy of “no privatizations,” in order to protect and preserve public services. Manitoba Liberals will focus on policies that encourage new growth instead.
“After decades of privatizations by both the PC and NDP, it’s time to reconsider the practice of governments selling off public assets for pennies on the dollar,” said Lamont. “The evidence shows that privatization doesn’t deliver growth and often results in worse-quality service with few savings.”
Lamont said the Manitoba Liberals have several practical and principled reasons for rejecting privatization. Lamont said privatization is based more on ideology than evidence.
The goal of properly run public services is to provide low-cost services to everyone and to prevent price-gouging that can occur with private for-profit monopolies.
Manitoba Liberals are focused on creating good new jobs and building strong new Manitoba businesses. Privatization does not grow the economy or create new jobs - it just changes ownership.
Privatization is based on the ideological beliefs, not evidence. One belief is that the private sector should profit from the delivery of public services. This ignores that low-cost, quality public services like infrastructure, insurance, electricity, health and education reduce costs for the private sector as well.
Manitoba Liberals want to address the growing gap between wage earners and protect consumers. Privatization of “natural monopolies” means private companies can engage in price gouging. Private companies may boost profits by reducing the pay and benefits of workers while skimping on maintenance.
Loss of local control and ownership is also a major concern. Publicly-owned and run companies are the ultimate form of local ownership because they are owned by all citizens. Privatization may mean “exporting ownership” which means the long-term benefits of profits and dividends all leave the province.
The benefits of public ownership stay local; because MPI, Hydro and MLLC are owned by all Manitobans, their revenues benefit all Manitobans.
In the 1990s, the PC government sold off the Manitoba Telephone System (MTS). Today, Manitoba has some of the worst cell phone coverage in Canada. Saskatchewan kept SaskTel public and has one of the best cellular networks.
In 2011, the Manitoba NDP partially privatized emergency medical transportation when they signed an untendered 10-year contract with STARS, an Alberta-based company. In 2012 the NDP government rushed the privatization of the Manitoba’s Provincial Land Registry in another untendered and secret contract to an Ontario-based company.
The Pallister government has privatized water bombers, the provincial air services, and they put patients in danger by privatizing the Lifeflight air ambulance service. Instead of listening to pilots, mechanics, doctors, nurses, and many others, the PCs ignored the risk and pushed forward anyhow. The PCs also sold off a tree nursery that helped provide low-cost trees to municipalities.
“The PCs have justified their own privatizations by saying ‘the NDP did it too,’ which is a terrible excuse,” said Lamont. “Given half a chance, Brian Pallister will continue to sell off Manitoban’s inheritance — Manitoba Liberals oppose it.”