Pallister Government Looks to Privatize Infrastructure Services

November 27, 2018

Wab Kinew, Leader of the Manitoba NDP, tabled documents in the House today that reveal the Pallister government’s intention to begin a process of selling off public infrastructure delivery to private companies.

The Pallister government has released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to hire a consultant who will be embedded into the Department of Infrastructure to conduct a ‘competitive dialogue’ with private construction companies. The consultant’s mission is to ‘rightsize public ownership, investment and maintenance’ of the department’s core strategic highway and water management assets network.

These core services include snow clearing on highways, safety inspections on roads, bridges and railways, and the enforcement of safety standards for commercial trucking. The consultant will also consider the construction and maintenance of flood mitigation infrastructure such as community ring dikes, pumping stations and the Red River Floodway.

“The Premier is laying the groundwork to privatize the services that keep our communities and highways safe,” said Kinew. “Clearing snow from highways and keeping trucking companies accountable is one of the most basic things a government must do to keep our roads safe. The Pallister government is willing to put Manitobans at risk in order to help out his well-connected friends.”

Kinew noted in 2015 the Ontario Auditor General found that Ontario’s decision to privatize snow clearing services led to road being less safe and slower service delivery.

The Premier has cut spending on infrastructure by hundreds of millions of dollars for two years. He has frozen municipal funding and cut the Municipal Roads and Bridges program by more than eighty per cent. On top of these cuts, he’s actually underspent his infrastructure budget by more than $170 million in 2017/18 alone.

The RFQ stipulates the consultant must complete its work before May of 2019.

“Manitobans trust government to build their roads and bridges so they can get to where they need to be safely,” said Kinew. “The Pallister government is rushing a privatization process that will put the safety of Manitoba families in jeopardy.”

Click the Adobe Acrobat icon below for the RFQ referenced in the release, and documents from the Department of Infrastructure’s Service Delivery Review.

PDF FormatAdobe Acrobat version.