Close to 500 people gathered this week for a panel discussion on the upcoming public-private partnership (P3) referendum in Regina.
The Leader-Post reports, "Hosted by Regina Water Watch, a local group with union support that pushed for the referendum, the event featured speakers Maude Barlow, the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, who has spoken out against the Harper government pushing municipalities into more P3s; Saskatoon-based retired Environment Canada research scientist Marley Waiser; and P3 expert Pierre Hamel, who has studied such projects in other Canadian municipalities for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. ...Reginans have now been tasked with weighing the divergent views before they head to the polls Sept. 25."
CJME reported on the media conference prior to the public forum. In that article, Barlow says, "It is absolutely essential that we not hand our water services and our water systems and our actual water supplies over to the private sector around the world. If Regina goes ahead to privatizing its water, I promise you, in five years you'll be having a debate about how to undo this. It's happening all over the world where communities have gone the private route [and] they're sorry."
That article also notes, "Barlow explained that her opposition is also based on the public good. She said when a public entity has control it's providing a service and is not-for-profit. When money is charged for the service those dollars go back into infrastructure. In contrast, Barlow insisted that if a private company takes over the plant its only interest would be in making a profit; she believes that would usually be at least 15 per cent."
The Global News article quotes Barlow stating, "When it's a private company, they have to make a profit and there are only so many ways you can do this. You have to raise water rates higher than the public rates or you have to cut corners somewhere and you have to lay off the work force. I've heard horror stories from around the world where private companies have been able to cut corners."
Metro News adds that, "Earlier this week, Regina Water Watch released its first video ads, urging residents to Vote Yes in the upcoming referendum. The city has already established a $340,000 budget to fund a Vote No advertising campaign."
Video of Barlow speaking at the press conference can be seen here.
Thank you for reading this story…
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.
rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.
So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.
And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.