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CRANBROOK, B.C. Dont cry to Gordon Campbell about the cuts that are tearing your community apart, CUPE BC president Barry ONeill advised CUPE members here yesterday. Blame it on East Kootenay MLA Bill Bennett.

People say Bennett is dismissive and rude when they complain about the loss of the womens resource centre, four of seven courthouses, the elimination of legal aid services, ONeill said. He needs to listen to them, not scoff and swear at them as Im told he has done.

Although Cranbrook is not as hard hit as other communities, it is still facing major cuts to health care, education, social and legal services. Three rural schools may be closed. So may some health care facilities.

ONeill made his remarks while visiting the area as part of his province-wide Strong Communities tour to highlight the damage being done to our communities by the Campbell Liberals.

Earlier, he met with Mayor Ross Priest who shared his views on the Campbell Liberals community charter. Council is concerned that the charter legislation will have the potential for downloading service costs to the municipal level, he told ONeill.

Mayor Priest and ONeill also shared a concern about the secrecy and lack of consultation surrounding the charter.

It will put city councilors in a terrible position, ONeill said, one that could lose them their elected positions and a lot of credibility in their communities.

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Contact: Ron Verzuh, CUPE Communications,
604-291-1940 or 604-785-1422.