Have you ever suspected business and government are in bed together? Well, those looking for evidence of an ongoing affair would have went apoplectic yesterday when Premier Gordon Campbell announced all new municipal capital projects receiving provincial funding will have to be reviewed by Partnerships British Columbia if they cost more than $20 million. Speaking to Union of British Columbia Municipalities conventioneers, the premier explained the agency will be taking a "hard look at how that project might be built as a public-private partnership." As has already been noted by freelance columnist Paul Willocks, "some municipalities - especially on sensitive projects like water systems - are likely to balk at provincial interference." But not to worry. Because Partnerships British Columbia is teaching the private sector how to push those projects through - irrespective of those concerns.
Next month, the agency's communications and government relations director Jennifer Davies is scheduled to offer "advice on the importance of establishing well thought out communications strategies to handle the inevitable campaign against" water and wastewater public-private partnerships at a conference in Toronto. The conference is being organized by The Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships - whose board of directors includes Ken Dobell, the premier's special advisor and former deputy minister.
Ms. Davies is a member of a panel discussing "water and water procurement rights in Canada." Other panelists include Veolia Water NA customer relations vice-president Mark Sanderson, EPCOR Water Services Inc. British Columbia and Pacific Northwest development vice-president Karim Kassam and OMI Inc. sales director Wally MacKinnon.