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Harper seeks $4 billion through privatizations by March 2010

The Globe and Mail reports this morning that, “No government asset is being spared scrutiny as the Harper government considers auctioning off holdings while it grapples with record deficits, sources say…”

“Ottawa aims to generate up to $4-billion through privatizations or sales in this fiscal year (by March 2010).”

Government assets under review include:

1- the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
2- VIA Rail
3- the Royal Canadian Mint
4- all government assets including Crown corporations (eg, Ridley Terminals, a cash-strapped coal-shipping Crown corporation in Prince Rupert, B.C.)
5- holdings of the Canada Lands Co., a Crown corporation with a real-estate portfolio totalling about 970 hectares

“(Finance Minister Jim) Flaherty hasn’t said whether possible saleable properties might also include the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.”

“Just last week the Tories announced they will seek buyers for the nuclear reactor business of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., Ottawa’s flagship nuclear company.”

“Sources say while all government assets are on the table for a review first announced last fall, it’s unlikely the minority Conservative government would move to spin off ‘highly iconic elements’ such as the CBC or Via Rail in the short term.”

The Canwest News Service adds that, “The budget identified four federal departments whose Crown assets are being reviewed first: Finance, Indian and Northern Affairs, Natural Resources, and Transport and Infrastructure. VIA Rail is overseen by the Transport Department, while the CBC and the National Arts Centre fall under the portfolio of the Canadian Heritage department.”

Canwest notes that government assets under review include:

6- 31 million hectares of land, and more than 46,000 buildings
7- the Cape Breton Development Corp.
8- the Federal Bridge Corp. Ltd.
9- the National Arts Centre Corp.
10- the Old Port of Montreal Corp.
11- the Parc Downsview Park Inc.

The Globe and Mail article can be read at

The Canwest News Service article is at