Highway privatization uses secret contracts as standard operating procedure

It’s standard to keep the contracts secret even after the contracts are signed, too!

The Great Ontario Toll-Road Cover-Up; Highway 407 bidding is cloaked in a veil of CIA-like secrecy.

Some choice quotes from the article by Peter Samuel…


All information the government chooses to release is being held in a secure government office called a Data Room, and the bidding teams are forbidden to talk to any outsiders about it, including the press. I have learned its photocopy machine is a slow, old clunker. Hope someone doesn’t get a bullet for leaking that.

Living in the United States, I might expect this kind of secrecy from a government getting bids for a new stealth fighter plane for the armed forces, or maybe for a communications system for the national police, But what possible justification could there be for keeping secret any information at all – except details of individual accounts – about a road, especially a publicly owned road? Ontario claims to be a democracy, I believe…

…Since Canadian Highways International Corp. has all the information about the road, any secrecy only disadvantages the other bidders. Ms. Reid was silent when I pointed this out. When I asked why there is such secrecy, anyway, she said it was necessary to protect “confidential commercial information”

Whose confidential information? What confidential information? This is a public business undertaking being sold. Surely, its balance sheet and accounts and performance are not a matter of secrecy – sorry, confidentiality – in a democracy. Ms. Reid had run out of answers. Poor woman.

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