Friday, December 18, 2009

The following opinion piece is from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. Down Ontario way the provincial government has floated the idea of privatizing various government Crowns, as a means to get quick money to relieve their deficit. Now, Molly is an anarchist, a libertarian socialist, not a leftist. I have no great attachment to government owned business, just as I have little attachment to any massive corporation. Private or public it is all the same to me. Leftists, with rare exceptions, rarely meet a tax they cannot love nor a government monopoly that they wouldn't be willing to sleep with. In contradiction to this I personally have little problem with opening up state monopolies to competition. In the end that will be one of the ways that a real cooperative socialism will be built.
At the same time the rush to "privatize" various government businesses is usually ideologically driven, done irrationally and quite often conceals less savoury motives of "consideration" that will be given to politicians when they reenter the private sector. The "deals" that are offered the friends of the government are far too often ones that are far sweeter than would be offered in the sale of a private company. The case of the sale of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario is an obvious instance. the "asking price" is estimated to be $10 billion. This for a company that makes $1.4 billion a year. In other words the "payback" would be in about 7 years, quite a "steal". In return for the ten billion infusion the Ontario government would avoid paying interest on bonds at a minimal rate while giving up $1.4 billion a year in profit. This could only make sense to an ideologically driven government. Here's the story from the OPSEU.
Time to stop talk about LCBO privatization: OPSEU:
Premier Dalton McGuinty should put an immediate end to speculation about the privatization of the LCBO by saying the Crown corporation is not for sale, says the union that represents more than 6,000 liquor board employees.

“How many more times are we going to go around the block on this issue?” asked Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. “We beat back privatization under Mike Harris and we were pleased when Premier McGuinty rejected the recommendations of the Lacey panel in 2005 that called for parts of the LCBO to be sold off to the private sector.

“It should be a dead issue by now but somehow it keeps creeping back,” said Thomas, responding to media accounts Wednesday that reported the government has retained the services of two banking investment firms to advise it on the possible privatization of several prominent Crown corporations, including the LCBO.

In 2008 the LCBO earned more than $1.4 billion in profit – funds that are used to finance health care, education and other public services. Surveys have repeatedly found that close to 75 per cent of Ontarians want the LCBO to stay in public hands. And without the profit motive at work, the LCBO rigidly enforces a policy of social responsibility by blocking sales to underage teens, intoxicated customers and third-party purchasers.

Thomas also noted that privatization would threaten the wages, benefits and working conditions enjoyed by many full-time LCBO employees.

“In dozens of communities around Ontario the LCBO is a source of employment and a “destination retailer” that attracts other retail businesses. Why tamper with a formula that has worked so well on behalf of all Ontarians?

“Slaughtering the goose that annually lays golden eggs for the public purse is a half-baked strategy that should be put to rest for good.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

let adults buy legal products in corner stores. To hell with this silly monopoly and markups of wine and overpaid employees...