Liberals' 'green agenda' should support public services

    Worthy environmental policy will be compromised by increased
    privatization, says CUPE

    BURNABY, BC, Feb. 12 /CNW/ - Continuing its focus on 'green issues' that
began with last year's budget, the BC Liberal government in the Speech from
the Throne today unveiled an ambitious set of environmental initiatives while
obscuring the province's increased reliance on public-private partnerships,
the Canadian Union of Public Employees said in response.
    "We applaud the government's efforts to reduce carbon emissions, make use
of renewable energy resources and encourage more 'power smart' behaviour among
the general public," said CUPE BC president Barry O'Neill.
    "What concerns us is how it is pursuing these worthy goals. For example,
we hope that the move toward 'fast-tracking' so-called 'green developments' is
not simply a sneaky way of getting P3s approved by Partnerships BC."
    O'Neill also raised concerns about proposed changes in post-secondary
    "An expansion in the public university system and clarification of the
purpose of post-secondary institutions should be done with proper funding and
in consultation with the communities and the students, staff and faculty in
those institutions," said O'Neill.
    "Let's make sure that the post-secondary institutions we create meet the
real needs of communities, and are not just quick political fixes in response
to lobbying campaigns or marketing needs."
    O'Neill added that significant new resources are required on the funding
front, with public colleges, university colleges and universities already
seeing funding shortfalls - and, in some cases, serious infrastructure
    Finally, O'Neill offered qualified praise for new initiatives for
children, including StrongStart.
    "While we are pleased that government continues to put a priority on
this," he said, "we await the details of a proposed study of the feasibility
of full-day kindergarten for children from three to five years of age. The
government should integrate these types of programs into the K-12 system,
making use of free space that currently exists in school districts, and making
best use of the resources of the public education system."


For further information:

For further information: 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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