Campbell should not use crisis to push privatization, deregulation agenda

    BURNABY, BC, Oct. 22 /CNW/ - When BC Premier Gordon Campbell makes his
statement this evening CUPE BC president Barry O'Neill will be watching for
something new that truly meets the needs of working British Columbians, but he
is not holding his breath.
    "I am very concerned that the Campbell Liberals will cynically use the
current economic crisis to hand more power and more public money to
corporations, and to even further reduce governments' ability to regulate,"
says O'Neill.
    The premier has talked about accelerating capital projects and focus on
implementation of the Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA)
between Alberta and British Columbia.
    "The evidence on TILMA makes it pretty clear that it is basically a Bill
of Rights for corporations - and not just an agreement about trade and labour
mobility. I don't think most British Columbians would see this as a
responsible way to deal with the fallout from the corporate excesses we are
witnessing," says CUPE BC president Barry O'Neill.
    And O'Neill is also concerned that Campbell's capital plan will push
further privatization - through public-private partnerships or P3s. "It would
be nothing short of reckless to promote more private finance and more private
control of things like water and sewer services, schools, hospitals and
community facilities, given the increasing instability of financial markets
and corporations."
    O'Neill hopes to see a focus on real issues for working people. "Income
inequality is growing in B.C. How about lifting the seven-year pay freeze for
minimum-wage workers trying to live on $8 an hour? How about supporting a
public child care initiative? How about focusing on the fact that B.C. has had
the highest rate of child poverty in Canada four years running?"
    "I think people are very concerned about how this premier and this
government will deal with things if the wheels fall off the economy. And they
worry that his solution will be more of the same - deregulate, privatize, cut
services and hand over more to corporations," says O'Neill.

For further information:

For further information: Contact: Barry O'Neill, CUPE BC president:
(604) 340-6768; Roseanne Moran, CUPE Communications: (604) 291-1940

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Canadian Union of Public Employees

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Canadian Union of Public Employees - BC Regional

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