Minister defends P3

Dear Editor

The new psychiatric hospital is the single largest investment in mental health in our province’s history. The 284-bed facility will replace the old hospital, which has served North Battleford for more tha 100 years.

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The new hospital was built as a P3 or public-private partnership. A P3 requires the builder to maintain the facility in “like new” condition for 30 years and shifts the risk of cost overruns onto the builder. Before a P3 proceeds, a value for money report is done by an accounting firm, in this case the report confirmed that choosing a P3 saved $90 million, an 18 per cent savings for taxpayers over the course of the 30-year contract.

In an interview with the Battlefords News-Optimist, NDP Leader Ryan Meili had a number of positive things to say about the new hospital. However, it was disappointing to read that the NDP are ideologically opposed to P3s and, if given the opportunity, would have deliberately forgone saving taxpayers $90 million by using a traditional build procurement model.

Again and again, we see the same pattern out of the NDP, a stubborn hidebound opposition to anything new and innovative. Our government will continue to put common sense ahead of ideology. We believe the vast majority of Saskatchewan taxpayers agree.

Jim Reiter

Minister of Health

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