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February 12, 2002

(VICTORIA) The BC Liberal government is sacrificing this provinces residents on the altar of cutbacks and privatization, the Canadian Union of Public Employees charged in response to todays Throne Speech.

When this government talks about the need for people to sacrifice public jobs and services because of the huge deficit the Liberals have created through their own fiscal miscalculations they dont seem to understand that it is actually children, students, seniors, people in community care, and working families who are being sacrificed, said CUPE BC President Barry ONeill.

We are appalled that what the Liberals call a strategic shift to ostensibly allow for the greater protection of children actually means that kids who have fled abusive homes will be forced out of group homes and shelters and back to potentially unfit parents who will be funded to care for their children.

This is not about caring, its about cost-cutting, ONeill said.

He also expressed concerns about the governments plans to engage in public-private partnerships to deliver services that are currently public. We have already seen that privatization benefits business, not people, in places like Ontario where this experiment has been tried and failed, ONeill said.

He pointed out that the government of Nova Scotia has abandoned public-private partnerships in education that wasted millions of dollars of public funds.

I would suggest that the Premier is heading in the wrong direction when he promotes the expensive option of allowing private colleges and universities to grant degrees, ONeill commented.

He also added that CUPE, which has led successful community campaigns to keep local water systems under public control throughout BC, will be watching the tabling of new legislation on drinking water with keen interest.

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Contact: Barry ONeill, CUPE BC President 604-916-8444

Teresa Marshall, CUPE Communications

604-291-1940 ext. 223. Cell# 604-313-6103.