It's no surprise Mayoral candidate Rick Karp is cozy with the private sector. He was, after all, the voice and face of business in our city for many years. Though he has left his role as head of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce, his lasting loyalty to the city's business community is evident in his campaign.
When pressed by Yukon Employees' Union President Steve Geick to share his views on the privatization of municipal services, Karp expressed a willingness to keep contracting out as an option. "If there are areas where our city workers are close to the capacity at which they can deliver, then we should be open to letting the private sector address the gaps in capacity".
Rather than empowering City workers to deliver services, and rather than ensure Whitehorse can deliver on its commitment to its citizens, he is prepared to make the work available to his private sector friends? How is that in in the best interest of our taxpayers?
There's a common misconception that contracting out means better services for lower costs. Again and again cities have seen that it just doesn't work. All across this country, municipalities have walked that plank, only to turn around and restore critical infrastructure services to public sector delivery. Private sector employers have PROFIT as their focus - while a city management team holds the best interests of residents as its key objective. How can the lowest bidder deliver critical services at a lower cost? They usually rely on a poorly trained, poorly paid workforce to satisfy the contract, with predictably poor results. Creating a larger base of low wage earning citizens won't build a strong city, or a sustainable economy. In fact, outsourcing or privatizing means our tax dollars go to creating wealth for business owners, rather than providing reliable, quality services.
As President of the Chamber of Commerce, he suggested in 2016 that the City should freeze tax increases, and "to possibly decrease the number of employees who work for the City". His stance on contracting out seems rooted in a desire to eliminate tax increases for business, by reducing the size of the City's staff and by reducing services. Who will pick up the slack? Presumably the local business community he has championed for years. Whose interests does he really have at heart?
In his role as the voice of Whitehorse business, Mr. Karp has loudly and consistently opposed increases to the minimum wage.
2008: "Raising the minimum wage another 21 cents in line with the Consumer Price Index isn’t fair to business"
2012: "We do not need to keep increasing minimum wage"
2016: "Instead of ... saying $15 ... we have to make the business community, which is a huge employer in town, sustainable.”
His stance reflects a complete lack of understanding of the realities of living and working in the city he proposes to lead.
Please Vote in the Whitehorse Municipal Election on October 18th, and keep in mind Rick Karp's anti-worker record and his willingness to take City of Whitehorse public services private when you go to the polls.