Tuesday, February 24, 2009

NDP's Martin wants details about what crown agencies are to be sold.

This is from the Winnipeg Free Press.

As Martin says this is the absolute worst time to sell anything. The whole review is about trying to implement standard conservative ideology which tries to open anything and everything to private investment through privatisation whether it makes sense or not. The excuse in this case is the budget deficit but even if selling some of these assets did make sense, selling them in present circumstances is a bit of idiocy from the standpoint of the public interest. Only from the viewpoint of the buyers who probably would be Conservative supporters does the sale make any sense.

Martin wants details about what's on chopping block
By: Mia Rabson
OTTAWA - Winnipeg NDP MP Pat Martin is demanding the finance minister outline exactly what crown corporations are on his chopping block and why.
Martin said the “fire sale” of government assets is unacceptable and said Jim Flaherty owes Canadians an explanation of exactly what he is planning to do.
“We’ve seen no business case as to the economic sense of this,” said Martin.
In the recent federal budget Flaherty said the assets and crown corporations within four departments - finance, natural resources, transport and infrastructure and Indian affairs - were being reviewed to see how they fit with the government’s current agenda.
The assets among those departments include the Royal Canadian Mint, VIA Rail and Canada Post.
Any assets deemed to be worth selling could be privatized although there are no specific plans to sell anything yet finance officials have said.
Flaherty is looking for $4 billion from cost-cutting measures or the sale of government assets to keep his budget deficit at $34 billion.Martin said there is no business case to sell anything at all in the current economic climate.
“It’s a stupid time to sell anything,” said Martin. “This is just neoconservative ideology to get government out of the way.”
Martin said Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not mention anything about selling off government agencies in the election.
“Nobody gave Stephen harper the mandate to sell off our national institutions so he can balance the books,” said Martin.
Martin is asking for Flaherty to testify before the Government Operations Committee to explain what is going on. He said when questions were posed at committee about the plan to sell assets, officials from finance, the Privy Council Office and Statistics Canada, did not answer the questions.

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