PCA - page 5

business elite canada
the average person, it’s significant. By
opening up construction tendering,
and allowing all qualified contractors
and workers to compete for public
projects, the potential cost savings to
taxpayers in Manitoba and the Sault,
are huge.
In Manitoba, where the province is
trying to get out from under Manito-
ba Hydro’s ballooning debt, change
can’t come soon enough. The Pallis-
ter government is making good on a
campaign promise to deliver better
value for taxpayers and make Mani-
toba “the most improved province in
Canada.” Infrastructure Minister Ron
Schuler made it official. “The Manito-
ba government has started consulta-
tions aimed at reducing or eliminating
the costly practice of project labour
agreements regarding major govern-
ment contracts.” Under the previous
government, PLAs were expanded, al-
lowing the Building Trades Unions to
monopolize massive Manitoba Hydro
projects. “This had the effect of in-
creasing the cost of a project, dis-
couraging some contractors from
bidding and infringing on the rights of
workers,” Schuler said. The end result:
sticker shock. Project cost overruns
have pushed Manitoba Hydro’s debt
to a staggering $16 billion and count-
ing, all at taxpayer’s expense.
In Sault Ste. Marie, the municipal gov-
ernment has also taken a big step for-
ward to free itself from a construction
labour monopoly. For more than three
decades, the United Brotherhood of
Carpenters and Joiners and the La-
bourers International Union of North
America have been allowed to mo-
nopolize all municipal construction
projects in the Sault. It’s meant that
local qualified contractors and their
workers have been prevented from
bidding and working on local projects.
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