Privatization industry good to politicians who privatized public services

It’s so common for politicians who privatized public services when in office to be hired by companies that profit from privatization after they retire that it rarely gets questioned.

Ottawa (27 August 2018) — Earlier this year it was announced that business law firm Bennett Jones had hired former BC premier Christy Clark as a senior advisor.

Bennett Jones describes itself as “one of the first firms to advise on the P3 and AFP structures in Canada.” Christy Clark was Deputy Premier when Partnerships BC was set up to push the use of P3 partnership schemes in British Columbia and her government used P3s for numerous infrastructure projects. One area where Christy Clark will be working with Bennett Jones clients is infrastructure.

Christy Clark,  one of many former politicians to find work with the privatization industry

The most disturbing thing about Christy Clark being hired by Bennett Jones is that there’s nothing unusual about it. It’s so common for companies that profit from privatization to hire politicians who privatized public services while in office that it rarely gets questioned.

Former Ontario finance minister gets job pushing privatization

Dwight Duncan was finance minister in the Liberal government that dramatically increased the use of P3 privatization schemes in Ontario. After leaving politics, Dwight Duncan was hired by McMillan LP, a law firm involved in P3 privatization schemes. During his time with MacMillan, Duncan played a leadership role in preparing a report recommending that the Ontario government use a form of privatization called alternative service delivery.

Manitoba premier who privatized MTS collects almost $1.5 million as a board member

In 1996, the Manitoba Progressive Conservative government privatized the Manitoba Telephone System (MTS). Manitoba residents were outraged because in the provincial election a year earlier, the Progressive Conservatives had promised that MTS would not be privatized.

The privatization of MTS was a bad for Manitobans, but it was a very good for the Progressive Conservative premier who oversaw privatization, Gary Filmon. After leaving office he was appointed to the board of directors of MTS. During the 12 years he was on the MTS board of directors, he was paid almost $1.5 million.

Former Alberta and BC Finance Minister profit from liquor store privatization

Alcana Inc, until recently Liquor Stores NA, did very well out of liquor store privatization in Alberta and partial privatization in British Columbia. It has a combined total of 207 stores in the two provinces. 

Its board members have included the Alberta provincial treasurer at the time Alberta liquor stores were privatized, Jim Dinning, and the BC finance minister at the time BC liquor stores were partially privatized, Gary Collins. In the last full years they were board members Jim Dinning and Gary Collins received $151,560 and $81,520 respectively. At the same time liquor privatization has cost Alberta $1.5 billion in lost revenue – and counting.

Stronger restrictions needed to prevent politicians from profiting from privatization

It’s long been accepted that politicians, political staff and senior public employees shouldn’t benefit from government decisions. That’s why we have conflict of interest laws. Unfortunately, what the large number of politicians working for companies that profited from decisions they made when in government shows is that those rules are too weak.