Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Conservative Malaise

I have been asked why I am so hard on Conservatives and would I treat other Governments the same.

I respond:
Conservatives have some reasonable ideas, some I like very much. The problem comes in the execution of these plans.

Contracts are more times than not opened behind closed doors and the details of the winning contracts are not made public. In short, they channel all the construction and companies to their private group of friends. Internally these are called “friends”

None of their schemes allow for a fair return to the tax payer or the provincial treasury. This is prevalent in 3P0 projects. The “lowest” bidder gets the project and if they fall short in building the project in any way the taxpayer picks it up. There is no performance guarantees put in place. In the duration profits are taken and because the length of time is so great, many extending over 25 years, who keeps track? Why are all the bids not made public?

Conservatives are long on “Let the market prevail” but very short on this idea when it comes to the provincial resource being sold. The market in these cases is bent beyond recognition. Who can’t make money when they buy the store for 5 cents on the dollar of value and assume 60 years of infrastructure in a few seconds?

In brief, Conservatives have a big problem in keeping their fingers out of the till.

John Clark
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