According to a new Nanos Research survey, 64 per cent of Canadians remain supportive of public-private partnerships (P3s) to build critical infrastructure. The survey results were presented by Nanos at a Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships (CCPPP) luncheon on Voter Rage & Populism: The Threat to Building Infrastructure, which took place in Toronto on Jan. 23.
In Canada, P3s are responsible for 281 projects across the country, with those already in operation or under construction valued at $136.9 billion. Examples include hospitals, courthouses, highways, bridges and transit projects. In Canada, P3s help deliver large-scale public infrastructure assets that are financed either entirely or partially by the private sector, yet remain publicly owned and controlled.
The survey asked respondents their views on a variety of hot-button infrastructure issues, such as who is responsible for budget overruns, foreign companies bidding on Canadian projects and whether governments have a balanced consultation and approvals process between the interests of business and environmental and Indigenous concerns.
The purpose of the survey was to gauge whether infrastructure delivery in Canada could become vulnerable to an angry, populist wave, as seen in other countries where trust in government, media, big business and institutions have dropped to all-time lows.
“Overall, the survey suggests Canadians continue to support public-private partnerships, but the infrastructure sector is not immune to voter rage,” said Nik Nanos, executive chairman of Nanos Research, in a press release. “It’s reassuring to see that despite a tumultuous last few years in global politics, Canadians are largely moderate in their views on these issues although there are some significant differences among men and women, the regions and even age groups that bear watching.”
“Given the long-range planning, significant investment and public goodwill needed to bring critical infrastructure to life, it is a sector that is especially vulnerable to changes that favour ideology over sound public policy,” added Mark Romoff, president and CEO of the CCPPP. “We know this uncertainty drives project risk, leads to reduced competition during procurement and reduces the desire to innovate, which negatively impacts taxpayers and the private sector.”
The full survey results can be found here.