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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Rather than add noise to the Canadian Political Thread, if y'all don't mind, here's a Nova Scotia-specific thread.

You'd have thought that Nova Scotian politicians would have learned from the lessons from the 1992 privatization of Nova Scotia Power (i.e., a freakin' disaster). That was the provincial Progressive Conservatives' attempt to balance a budget by selling off a profitable crown corporation.

Now we have the Liberals in power. They've shown an astounding ability to make all the wrong moves since coming into office, and this is the latest stupidity: more sell-offs of profitable crown agencies, with no small amount of controversy in a situation involving lobbyists and conflict-of-interest allegations:


Nova Scotia registry privatization evaluation moves ahead

Two Nova Scotia Liberal operatives — including Premier Stephen McNeil's former campaign manager — have ended their lobbying efforts on behalf of an Ontario company pursuing the potential privatization of provincial business, land and motor vehicle registries.

Winning 2013 campaign manager Chris MacInnes and another Liberal, Jamie MacNeil of Group M5, terminated lobbying activities on behalf of Teranet Inc. on Sept. 22.

It comes just days after CBC News revealed MacInnes had lobbied on behalf of Toronto-based Teranet which has won exclusive long term contracts to operate provincial registries in Ontario and Manitoba.

MacInnes began lobbying on behalf of Teranet Inc in August 2014 as the cash-strapped McNeil government began exploring the idea of privatization.

Exclusive, long-term contracts

In Ontario and Manitoba, Teranet made large, upfront payments to provincial governments in exchange for exclusive long-term contracts to operate the land and property registries.

In 2010 Teranet paid Ontario $1 billion upfront for a 50-year deal. In Manitoba, the company got a 30-year deal for an upfront payment of $75 million.

MacInnes lobbied on behalf of Teranet, introducing the company to Service Nova Scotia Minister Mark Furey, after the government began pursuing the privatization option.

* * *​

Nova Scotia Association of Realtors said it is concerned a move to privatize the land registry would mean more fees for home buyers in the province.

"We've been monitoring this issue since it was brought to our attention earlier this year," said NSAR president Gord Burns in the release.

"And frankly, we're concerned that privatization of a public service like the land registry could result in higher fees, less publically available data, and reduced access to services."

Based on what happened in Ontario and Manitoba after the land registry was privatized, NSAR said it's concerned the costs for home purchase-related services such as legal and surveyor fees could go up.

"If service providers need to pay increased fees to access the registry, then that will be passed on to consumers,"

* * *​

The Opposition NDP focussed on another element in the document.

"Respondents may propose a fee increase model. However, in any ASD arrangement the province would establish the parameters for fee increases or changes to balance the respondent's reasonable needs against the financial impact on citizens of the province," said a news release.

NDP Service Nova Scotia critic Sterling Belliveau demanded the McNeil government tell the public what level of fee increase they can expect as a result of privatization.

"It's bad enough the privatization of registries will cost the province hundreds of millions of dollars in future revenue along with jobs, but now we learn the McNeil government plan could end up costing Nova Scotians more for basic things like renewing a driver's licence," Belliveau said in the second NDP release issued Tuesday on the potential registry privatization.​

(CBC)
 

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Canadian By Choice
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Still learning about NS politics here, Mark. However, I am very much looking forward to my first federal NS vote. My district has a departing Conservative, and the polls show that the NDP has a bit of an edge over the Liberals to take this seat. Both in NS, and NL, the Conservatives do not appear to have a chance of winning more than two seats. We shall see.
 

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Considering the size of the upfront payments, it sounds like a good deal for the province. Why are people so against helping their neighbours by paying higher land registry fees?
 

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Considering the size of the upfront payments, it sounds like a good deal for the province. Why are people so against helping their neighbours by paying higher land registry fees?
I think that it comes down to what will NS get if these services are privatized, and what will these services cost? As well, the service centers are well run now, and will quality of service be continued? I was in and out in half an hour when I had to get a new NS driver's license. My new health care card was done online, so that is not a fair comparison.
 

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When our registries were government run there were constant line ups at the single office. Now we can choose from dozens of offices so if one is busy another is five minutes away since privatization. It made things much better. Ditto for liquor stores. Service improved dramatically.
 

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When our registries were government run there were constant line ups at the single office. Now we can choose from dozens of offices so if one is busy another is five minutes away since privatization. It made things much better. Ditto for liquor stores. Service improved dramatically.
Did the fee structure change dramatically one way or the other?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
When our registries were government run there were constant line ups at the single office. Now we can choose from dozens of offices so if one is busy another is five minutes away since privatization. It made things much better. Ditto for liquor stores. Service improved dramatically.
After many years of lacklustre service, Access Nova Scotia outlets are now models of efficiency. Driver's license renewals, etc., are a quick in-and-out. There is still some grumbling over a semi-privatization of provincial mapping services.

There are many repercussions for the privatization of - particularly - land registries. Taxpayers have paid over the years for this data to be collected, filed and made available. Turning over that treasure trove to private businesses for what will inevitably be less than true market value is concerning. There are also issues of privacy to consider with all of the registries.

And did I mention - all of these crown agencies are profitable. What exactly is there to gain by privatizing them?
 

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And did I mention - all of these crown agencies are profitable. What exactly is there to gain by privatizing them?
Why are they profitable to begin with? If they're run by the government they should beclose to revenue neutral. Any profit would be overcharging.
 

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Yes a $2 fee was added
That is not too bad .......... so long as they can keep up the quality of service.
 

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After many years of lacklustre service, Access Nova Scotia outlets are now models of efficiency. Driver's license renewals, etc., are a quick in-and-out. There is still some grumbling over a semi-privatization of provincial mapping services.

There are many repercussions for the privatization of - particularly - land registries. Taxpayers have paid over the years for this data to be collected, filed and made available. Turning over that treasure trove to private businesses for what will inevitably be less than true market value is concerning. There are also issues of privacy to consider with all of the registries.

And did I mention - all of these crown agencies are profitable. What exactly is there to gain by privatizing them?
An interesting point about Access Nova Scotia outlets. The one we go to in Bridgewater is very efficient.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Why are they profitable to begin with? If they're run by the government they should beclose to revenue neutral. Any profit would be overcharging.
You've taken this tack in other discussions on privatization, and I disagree with it. There's nothing wrong with a Crown corporation earning a profit, so long as it's not outrageous, to feed into general revenues.

Your position is curious, since a private company would be driven entirely by the profit motive to extract as much from the consumer as possible, something that would not concern you, if I take your position correctly.

Why is it alright for a private company to earn profits above expenses, but not for a Crown corporation?

In the case of the former, the profits are not reinvested in the provincial economy, they are repatriated (none of the potential contractees are local).

The extraction of private profit will do nothing for Nova Scotians, save the handful who will earn – quite likely – minimum wage.

Also - we're talking about a monopoly, just as with the Nova Scotia Power privatization fiasco. There would not be competing registries (oh god imagine the chaos if there were!).

There are, as I've noted, further concerns about control / ownership of information that have wide-ranging implications.
 

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I think it's immoral for a government to charge people more than it costs to access a public service--that's simple opportunism. If they need money, then don't get it through the back door, just raise taxes.

I don't know if the NS deal is ultimately beneficial to the province, but of course they can't get the upfront cash without allowing the private corporation to earn a profit. The question is less about whether the supplier should earn a profit and more about whether that cash infusion is a net benefit over the long run.

However, if expensive public servants are replaced by private sector workers, that's a net benefit on its own.

You've taken this tack in other discussions on privatization, and I disagree with it. There's nothing wrong with a Crown corporation earning a profit, so long as it's not outrageous, to feed into general revenues.

Your position is curious, since a private company would be driven entirely by the profit motive to extract as much from the consumer as possible, something that would not concern you, if I take your position correctly.

Why is it alright for a private company to earn profits above expenses, but not for a Crown corporation?

In the case of the former, the profits are not reinvested in the provincial economy, they are repatriated (none of the potential contractees are local).

The extraction of private profit will do nothing for Nova Scotians, save the handful who will earn – quite likely – minimum wage.

Also - we're talking about a monopoly, just as with the Nova Scotia Power privatization fiasco. There would not be competing registries (oh god imagine the chaos if there were!).

There are, as I've noted, further concerns about control / ownership of information that have wide-ranging implications.
 

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One of the better aspects of privatization in Alberta was the broad services that the Alberta Motor Association was able to set up. Now with six outlets in greater Edmonton and one right here in St. Albert as well as dozens of other locations throughout the province, it provides a one stop location for registry services of all kinds. And with over 940,000 members it represents the vast majority of Alberta residents. As a member, no extra fees are charged for any registration.
 

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I'd have to add that I have little concern about privacy--as nobody seems capable of providing it, public or private.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
However, if expensive public servants are replaced by private sector workers, that's a net benefit on its own.
Again I have to disagree. "Expensive" in your mind is a proper living wage in the minds of workers.

And what is the net effect on the provincial economy if you replace workers making $20 - $30 / hour with minimum wage workers earning just over $10? You've cut their purchasing power by half-to-one-third.

How would *you* do if your income were slashed to that degree?

Those "expensive" public servants are consumers. Their purchases for the most part return money to the provincial economy, and their income taxes likewise return to the provincial coffers.

How would low-paid workers in a private firm provide any of those economic benefits to the province?
 

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I think it's immoral for a government to charge people more than it costs to access a public service--that's simple opportunism. If they need money, then don't get it through the back door, just raise taxes.

I don't know if the NS deal is ultimately beneficial to the province, but of course they can't get the upfront cash without allowing the private corporation to earn a profit. The question is less about whether the supplier should earn a profit and more about whether that cash infusion is a net benefit over the long run.

However, if expensive public servants are replaced by private sector workers, that's a net benefit on its own.
Perhaps a driver licence and a vehicle registration should be pro rated to the mileage driven.

My vehicles mainly sit in my driveway yet I pay the same fee as people who are constantly operating their vehicles. I am not wearing grooves in the roads like others.

Or as is the case we all pay set fees to offset the cost administering the service also of maintaining road infrastructure, snow clearing and providing policing services etc. to make the highways safe.

On another issue why in heavens name can anyone automatically conclude private sector wages will be less than public sector wages?

Wages in many private sector positions outpace public sector workers wages, therefore to attract talented individuals the public sector has to compete by offering more security but at a lower wage rate.

A limited view of the where the money paid goes. As if into the cash register and is distributed only in that office on pay days and to cover supplies, machines, lights and heat is a mind boggler
 

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How is it of any benefit to the province if consumers are taxed and their money is taken from them and given to other consumers?

Why not double public sector wages to create a class of super-consumers?

Again I have to disagree. "Expensive" in your mind is a proper living wage in the minds of workers.

And what is the net effect on the provincial economy if you replace workers making $20 - $30 / hour with minimum wage workers earning just over $10? You've cut their purchasing power by half-to-one-third.

How would *you* do if your income were slashed to that degree?

Those "expensive" public servants are consumers. Their purchases for the most part return money to the provincial economy, and their income taxes likewise return to the provincial coffers.

How would low-paid workers in a private firm provide any of those economic benefits to the province?
 
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