AUPE members know very well that privatization regularly fails to find “efficiencies” and any cost savings are often off the backs of workers who become de-unionized, with lower pay and benefits. They also work on the front lines of service delivery and see the problems caused by high-turnover low wage private providers, and the bureaucratic burden caused by having to deal with a third party instead of an in-house provider. Will you oppose privatization of school services and infrastructure, including Public-Private-Partnerships aka P3s? Will you support bringing previously privatized services in-house?

October 2, 2021

I will oppose privatization of services and infrastructure, including P3s. I will support the deprivatization of previously privatized services. In my view P3s are an accounting trick for governments to take on more debt without it showing up that way in the financial records. I expect that this ends up costing more than traditional financing in most instances and would rather open and transparent bookkeeping processes be employed.  For services, any privatization efficiencies are often made on the backs of underpaid staff and cut corners, with few exceptions. One exception that may require careful consideration is busing. For many years, Lethbridge School Division had a very productive partnership with the city of Lethbridge for busing. This partnership allowed for a more efficient infrastructure program where the city owned and maintained a larger bus fleet and had control of how the two services worked together, with city buses being available for some school routes. This partnership was changed recently and the school busing is currently done under a different provider. This was not a good change as there have been many challenges with the new system. While there may be a way for the school division to own all of its school buses and run this in-house, I would also support a carefully evaluated partnership with the city of Lethbridge for this service (if that option were available).