CUPE BC gives thumbs-down to 'elitist' economic meeting

    Pacific NorthWest Economic Region Summit pushes corporate agenda, says

    VANCOUVER, July 18 /CNW/ - The U.S. and Canadian corporations and
regional governments meeting behind closed doors here next week will be making
serious decisions about the future of public services, labour mobility and
homeland security with no input from the public - and that should send off
alarm bells for everyone, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
    The Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) is a cross-border trade and
security organization that brings together large multinational corporations
with states, provinces and territories including Alaska, Idaho, Montana,
Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Alberta, and the Yukon. The PNWER will
be holding its annual summit this year at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver,
July 20-24.
    "Some of the corporate members of this group are bent on privatizing
hydroelectric power, post-secondary education, health care and transportation,
to name a few public services they're targeting," says CUPE BC president Barry
O'Neill. "But they don't want to hear from any of the people who deliver those
services, the public who depend on those services or, indeed, anyone who
disagrees with their agenda."
    "They want to advance this agenda without involving any of the people who
deliver those services - or indeed, the public, who depend on those services."
    O'Neill said CUPE BC is also concerned that the group's discussion of the
2010 Olympics will ignore issues like Aboriginal rights, housing, homelessness
and the rising cost of living in the Lower Mainland. As well, the homeland
security discussions on cross-border information sharing, border security and
cross-border trade appear aimed at easing travel for business while adding
further restrictions for most people.
    "It sounds pretty close to the Security and Prosperity Partnership
(SPP)," says O'Neill. "That kind of corporate agenda has become very familiar
in B.C. and Alberta. As with the TILMA, this summit is not interested in how
that agenda will affect First Nations, small business, the trades and a whole
lot of other people. I also suspect that a lot of their initiatives wouldn't
go over too well with the UBCM or BCSTA."
    Earlier this week, the Vancouver and District Labour Council passed a
resolution expressing opposition to the PNWER Summit because of the corporate
domination and the closed door nature of it.
    A number of groups have planned a rally against the PNWER summit, to take
place at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday July 20th at the Westin Bayshore.

For further information:

For further information: Contact: Barry O'Neill, CUPE BC president:
(604) 340-6768; Dan Gawthrop, CUPE Communications: (604) 999-6132

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Canadian Union of Public Employees

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Canadian Union of Public Employees - BC Regional

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