March 03, 2016 – Fredericton – CUPE Local 1190, supported by CUPE NB, held a press conference on the issue of privatization in the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. Local 1190 president, Andrew Hardy, said the Union would go ahead with a request to the Office of the Auditor General to investigate the awarding of public contracts in the field of transport and construction in New Brunswick.
Many construction companies, such as asphalt and paving companies, donated generously to political parties before and during the last provincial election. Now, many of these businesses are reaping contracts from the newly privatized operations.
“Transportation Minister Roger Melanson and his Deputy Minister told us that privatization would be more expensive than the work done by the public sector,” says Hardy. “Despite that, Department employees, middle management and the Minister all know that it will cost more, the Liberals are still going forward. Who is benefiting from this, and why? Certainly not the taxpayer. Are we in a situation similar to what led to the Atcon scandal?” questioned Hardy.
“Unlike the federal law, New Brunswick’s political financing law allows corporations to make donations to political parties, up to $ 6,000. By privatizing more and more government work, is awarding public contracts truly a neutral process ?” asks Hardy. “We need a commission of inquiry in N.B.” he added.
“Privatization is less transparent and less accountable than public sector work. With outsourcing, the money goes to companies based outside the province: they’re the ones profiting from these contracts,” said David Perkins, CUPE National Representative.