I'm impressed by the chutzpah of Ontario's Liberal finance minister
TORONTO -- Drawing on private funds to rebuild Ontario's crumbling roads, schools and hospitals could represent a new way of doing business in the province, Finance Minister Greg Sorbara said Thursday.
Using private money to help finance public building projects is an idea whose time has come, notwithstanding the fears of critics, Sorbara told an audience of business leaders in his traditional post-budget luncheon speech.
"Some have just been horrified that, 'My goodness, the private sector would be involved in helping us think through and manage and deliver (public infrastructure),''' Sorbara said.
"Well, we're not horrified. If we can find expertise and new approaches within the private sector or public sector pension plans, and a partnership is appropriate, well, we'll enter into that partnership because it will expand our capacity to deliver.''
It goes without saying, of course, that for some odd reason Liberals can get away with things for which Conservatives would be publicly crucified. That's not to say that it's worth opposing such things just out of spite; if they want to co-opt the pro-business position, eking out a Clintonesque or Blairite Third Way
...well, it's not a dream come true, but it's better than the alternatives. The right thing done by the wrong person is a step up from the wrong thing done by the right person, at least.
We should be thankful, I suppose, that our provincial Liberals here are only (as if it was a good thing) shameless liars, not hideously corrupt; this would, in fact, be yet another one of the putatively monstrous policies of the previous PC government that turned out not to be so bad after all, once the hon. MPP for Ottawa South was sitting on the opposite side of the aisle. That's probably a good thing, right about now; rage from unions and the other usual anti-privatization types is better directed away from the Mike Harris legacy.
(And I still
think finance minister Greg Sorbara looks uncannily like Yes, Minister
's Sir Humphrey Appleby, which makes it all the more amusing.)