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Keep it Public for Good: A panel on water and infrastructure privatization

2013 October 01, by Chapter Council

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Time and Place

October 9 2013 – 7:00 -9:00 PM
Quakers Friends house
1829 Fern Street (Click for Map)
Victoria
Lekwungen and Coast Salish Territories

Panelists

  • Marianne Alto, City of Victoria Councillor and CRD Director
  • Charley Beresford, Executive Director, Columbia Institute
  • Bharat Chandramouli, Co-Chair, Victoria Council of Canadians

Join the Victoria Chapter of the Council of Canadians and CUPE for a panel and discussion on water and infrastructure privatization. The panel will focus on how public-private-partnerships (P3) are being used to impose private ownership of previously public infrastructure including water, hospitals, transit lines and more. These P3 deals have been shown to increase costs, reduce local autonomy, threaten local jobs and accountability. We will discuss alternatives including managing our water commons as a public trust.

Public trustThe residents of Victoria spoke loudly and overwhelmingly in favour of keeping its water and waste infrastructure public when given the opportunity to present their views in 2010. However, the waste-to-energy part of the plant is now proposed as a privately financed and operated facility under a long-term (25 year) contract. Also, the oversight of the work has been transferred from our elected representatives at the CRD to an appointed commission that has few accountability and feedback mechanisms in place.

This panel and discussion will connect this specific case of privatization in the CRD as part of a greater, concerted effort by the federal and provincial governments to impose a privatization agenda that prioritizes ideology over evidence. Current and proposed trade deals like the proposed Canada-EU trade agreement (CETA) are part of this same agenda that prioritizes private profit over public good. We hope the panel will serve as a springboard to push for waste treatment options that are in the public interest.