This week, city council in Port Colborne, Ont. passed a motion aimed at putting an end to the privatization of public services in the community.
The motion, introduced by Coun. Barbara Butters, mirrors one crafted by the We Own It campaign. It calls for a moratorium on outsourcing any public services without first undergoing a rigorous review of the proposals. Additionally, the motion calls for the city to publicly disclose all its services that are currently outsourced to private companies.
The motion argues that since private contractors need to make a profit, they charge more for products and services than their actual cost. Because they are profit-driven, they often sacrifice quality of service in order to cut costs. Conversely, publicly delivered services are typically non-profit, and any profits are put back into paying for more services.
The motion also states that public delivery of services ensures greater transparency and accountability into how public dollars are spent.
Butters says revenue-generating public assets like the LCBO should also remain under pubic control. "Why in the world would we want these profits to go into the pockets of an investor group? If we did do that, how would we make up that revenue?"
The LCBO generates $1.9 billion each year to help fund Ontario’s public services.