Quebec won’t cancel P3s

The Quebec government will not be buying back Montreal’s two superhospitals from its private partners despite high repair costs, Health Minister Danielle McCann told local newspaper Montreal Gazette.

Both the McGill University Health Centre project and the Centre hospitalier de l’université de Montréal (CHUM) P3 projects have resulted in overruns, with the government compensating the private partners for an additional $233m, the newspaper reports.

McCann told reporters that the new Coalition Avenir Québec government, elected on October 1, is not considering canceling the P3 contracts.

“We’re not there at all,” McCann said after a news conference. “We are not at all at the stage to consider buying back the P3s,” McCann added. “We would like the (projects) to come to term, and to be carried out according to the highest standards.”

McCann noted that the “CHUM file is evolving well. We have a very experienced team, and I received a report recently that confirmed for me that we have things well in hand. For us, the CHUM is an institution that’s very important. We will follow the situation there very closely”.

Even the head of the French-language CHUM defended the P3 contract, with a private consortium that’s led by Innisfree, a British investment firm. The consortium is known officially as Construction Santé Montréal.

“We pay great attention to the contract, which was well drafted, and which permits us to include all the renovations that are necessary,” Dr. Fabrice Brunet told radio host Alain Gravel from Radio-Canada. “Because as you know, medicine evolves very rapidly.”

The McGill University Health Centre project reached financial close in early 2010 while the Centre hospitalier de l’université de Montréal project reached financial close in 2011.