Author and investigative reporter, Linda McQuaig’s latest publication offers a very readable and succinct review of the history of key Canadian public services and the threat that privatization poses to our country’s public wealth. She lays out how the virtues of public ownership have increasingly been replaced by the dogma that the market does all things better. McQuaig documents how this agenda has accelerated in the past four decades through deregulation, privatization and free trade initiatives.
The vast majority of water and wastewater systems in Canada are owned, operated and maintained within the public sector. Essential to our public health system, municipal water systems were one of the first major services to be publicly delivered in Canada. The reason why water infrastructure is overwhelmingly public is because the private sector could not be relied upon to deliver a quality service at a price that all residents could afford. It’s therefore ironic that water corporations from rich countries like our own are now trying to persuade developing countries not to develop water resources publicly but to experiment with the private sector instead. What’s more, the belief that the private sector can manage our public water resources is now gaining ground in Canadian government and policy circles.