Government by Consultant: “Privateers of Privatization” Selected to Review Provincial Assets

ST. JOHN’S – Earlier today, the provincial government announced that Rothschild and Co. would be conducting a review of all public assets with the goal of “optimization”. There is only one goal in all of this, according to Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees President Jerry Earle – privatization.

“While the Minister has said that no firm decision has been made, there is a very clear policy direction playing out here,” said Earle. “First, the government-appointed Moya Greene, who has a long track record of privatizing public services, to the Premier’s Economic Recovery Team (PERT). Now, in the wake of the PERT report they have selected a firm that has been both an advisor and policy steering entity for privatization in countries around the world for decades. And of course, none of this plan was even casually mentioned during the recent elections.”

Rothschild and Co. played an integral role in the establishment of a ‘culture of privatization’ in the UK, throughout Europe and around the world. Under the Thatcher government, Rothschild and Co. was a key advisor on an austerity and privatization agenda that dismantled public services. Since then, Rothschild has been at the forefront of privatization schemes worldwide. The firm and its subsidiaries have obtained profitable advisory jobs in indebted countries such as Italy, Cyprus, Greece and Spain.

The provincial government paid McKinsey over $1 million dollars two years ago to develop an economic growth plan for our province. They’ve hired consultants to review, recommend, and plan public-private partnerships. They’ve hired a law firm to advise them on public sector bargaining in the past. The list goes on and on.

“This is about ticking boxes and hiding behind consultants and consultant reports on a clear path towards a predetermined goal,” said Earle. “This government talks about making tough choices and charting a bold new path, but what we are seeing here is the same, tired approach that has failed in jurisdiction after jurisdiction.”

“We’re pouring millions into these consulting firms to come up with predetermined solutions while they buy $500 dinners to party fundraisers. Enough is enough.”

“Austerity and privatization just doesn’t work. Costs go up, service quality suffers, public accountability declines, and good jobs are lost all while multi-national corporations and consultants line their pockets,” said Earle. “Today our message to government is clear – we will fight this agenda with every tool in our arsenal.”