SUDBURY, ON, Sept. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Union of Public
Employees (CUPE) Ontario today called on voters to elect a government that
will protect water as a public good and a fundamental human right.
Speaking just prior to a community forum in Sudbury on the issue of
bottled water, union leader Fred Hahn said that allowing municipalities to
remain cash-strapped because of provincially downloaded services is one more
way to coerce them into selling off public services like water to private
companies who see big profits in providing local services.
"With environmentalists predicting that water will be the new oil,
private companies see water as a commodity for sale and trade, rather than as
a public trust," said Hahn, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Ontario. "The Tories,
who were responsible for the Walkerton tragedy, have no real plan to protect
water. In fact, their agenda is to deregulate and commercialize all public
services-everything from water to health care to hydro. The McGuinty Liberals
also have no plan to protect water."
Hahn says that the source of the problem is the former Tory government's
downloading of provincial services to municipalities without the funds to pay
for them. "These costs are crushing municipalities from a financial
perspective, and the McGuinty Liberals are doing nothing to reverse these
disastrous policies. Only the NDP has committed to a comprehensive plan to
upload these costs to the province. This is the best way for the provincial
government to protect public services and goods at the municipal level from
With aging municipal infrastructures and local governments strapped for
cash, water companies are actively working to convince the province to
reorganize water delivery in a way that will result in more public-private
partnerships (P3s), more contracting out and more profits, says Wyman
MacKinnon, President of CUPE 4705 and a sponsor along with the Polaris
Institute of Sudbury's community meeting on "Is Bottled Water Safe" held
"If the provincial government allows this trend to continue, we will see
many services, from drinking water to waste management, to expensive
infrastructure like sewers and watermains that were built with taxpayers'
dollars, sold off to the lowest bidder," says MacKinnon. "Ontario voters have
a choice in this election. Only the NDP are committed to protecting the public
services that working families rely on."
For further information:
For further information: Valerie Dugale, CUPE Communications, (647)
225-3685; Fred Hahn, CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer, (416) 540-3979; Wyman
MacKinnon CUPE 4705 President, 750 669-8526