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Provincial and Territorial Politics in Canada and Beyond

J05 - Workshop: Public-Private Partnerships I

Date: Jun 4 | Time: 01:30pm to 03:00pm | Location: ESB 1012

Chair/Président/Présidente : Kiran Banerjee (University of Saskatchewan)

Session Abstract: Public Private Partnerships (P3s) are pervasive in most, if not all, spheres of the Canadian polity and economy the national and sub-national levels. This includes P3s in which the provincial and territorial governments are involved directly, and those in which they are involved indirectly. in and Despite their growing importance as policy and program instruments, most academics, policy makers, ratepayers, and voters do not have a very sophisticated understanding of why they are created, how they are governed, managed, financed and operated. The central purpose of this multi-panel workshop is to raise the level of awareness, interest, and knowledge of P3s among political scientists. The second objective is to motivate participants to think about important aspects of P3s that warrant greater attention in their respective research agendas and in their teaching.

The Evolution of Public Private Partnerships in Ontario: From Innovation to Bureaucratization: Aaron Moore (University of Winnipeg)
Abstract: This paper examines the circumstances that led to the creation of Ontario’s first major PPP (i.e/. the Highway 407 Express Toll Route and compares them to the current practices of Infrastructure Ontario (IO), the Province of Ontario’s heavily bureaucratized PPP agency. The paper finds that there was a clear and articulated need for an alternative to traditional infrastructure procurement at the time the OTCC was created, and although its creation was not without controversy, the OTCC delivered in the form of significant innovation in design and construction of Highway 407. In contrast, IO has largely standardised the use of PPPs in the province, to the point where PPPs are now the most common form of procurement, resulting in few opportunities for innovation, and little justification for the proliferation of PPPs in place of other forms of procurement.

Public Private Partnerships and Trade Agreements: Why Open Already Open Subnational Markets?: Elizabeth Schwartz (University of Saskatchewan), Saul Schwartz (Carleton University)
Abstract: International trade agreements are treaties concluded between governments that are intended to increase competition by reducing discrimination against firms from other jurisdictions, and increasing transparency about how contracts are awarded. Until recently, trade agreements were about tariffs. Tariffs act as a tax on foreign imports, raising their price to domestic buyers. However, in the last decade or so, “new generation” trade agreements have addressed both direct and indirect barriers to trade. Indirect barriers to trade include non-tariff barriers in local government procurement. To the extent that municipalities constrain competition for contracts related to their purchase of goods and services, free trade is restricted. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU includes provisions that, for the first time, explicitly seek to increase non-discrimination and transparency in local government procurement. We posit that CETA’s new government procurement provisions are unlikely to affect procurement processes or outcomes at the municipal level in Canada. We provide evidence that the largest contracts in urban areas – those that exceed the monetary thresholds specified in CETA – generally take the form of P3s. The consortia that bid on and win contracts for large urban infrastructure projects already include European firms. The prominent and varied roles that European firms play in these consortia demonstrate that further opening of local procurement markets was unnecessary. We conclude with some suggestions about why EU negotiators may have prioritized the inclusion of local government procurement in CETA, despite an absence of evidence that it was necessary.

First Nations Governments and P3s: A Thematic Overview of Trends: Joseph Garcea (University of Saskatchewan)
Abstract: This paper provides an overview and analysis of some of the notable uses of P3s by First Nations either on their own or jointly with other First Nations at the local and regional levels in various spheres in Canada. The objective of this paper is threefold. First, to provide an overview of the use of P3s in the following spheres: community infrastructure; community services; economic development; and natural resource management (i.e., co-management). Second, to shed some light on the factors that facilitate or impede the efforts of First Nations governments to be involved in partnerships, particularly in the provision of community infrastructure. In analyzing those factors, special attention is devoted to the implications of changes resulting from the reforms enacted by the Trudeau government to the P3 policy framework related to infrastructure projects with the realignment of functions between PPP Canada and the Infrastructure Bank after winning the 2015 election. The paper concludes with some observations regarding the prospects of First Nations becoming involved in various types of partnerships, but particularly those of major importance beyond their respective communities, in the near future.