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Remarks come as NB CUPE members celebrate 41st annual convention in Fredericton

(Fredericton) - Paul Moist, the National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, today urged governments at all levels to embrace public methods to rebuild healthy communities and reject privatization and so-called public-private partnerships (P3s).

No government can hide the sorry record of privatization and P3s, whether here in New Brunswick or across Canada, said Moist, speaking today in Fredericton at the 41st annual convention of the New Brunswick CUPE Division.

Almost without exception, P3s have cut quality, increased costs and reduced access to services, said Moist. Privatization threatens the very fabric of our communities, so its not surprising the public is widely opposed to private sector involvement in the financing or delivery of our public programs and services.

Moist was referring to an Ipsos-Reid poll released last week which found an overwhelming majority 84 per cent of Canadians want their public services delivered by public sector workers accountable to elected representatives and the public, rather than by corporations accountable to their shareholders.

Governments, at all levels, have a choice, said Moist. They can boost corporate profits by going through their business backers to deliver services or they can reinvest in rebuilding our communities by taking direct, public action. People in communities from coast to coast to coast dont want, or deserve, more P3 disasters.

Moists remarks are particularly apt in New Brunswick, which has been a testing ground of sorts for P3 schemes in schools, highways and water services and is facing creeping privatization of its health care system.

Moist noted that the federal minister responsible for infrastructure is New Brunswick MP Andy Scott, suggesting that New Brunswickers have a unique opportunity to weigh in on the P3 discussion in favour of direct public investment, public control and accountability.

The Ipsos-Reid poll found that Canadians are very skeptical of P3s. When asked whether Canada should rebuild its public infrastructure hospitals, schools, highways and water systems through direct public investment or through P3s, 75 per cent say keep it public.

New Brunswickers know all too well that P3s mean loss of control and poorer quality, Moist added. But are their political leaders listening?

CUPE is calling on governments to issue bonds to fund public infrastructure, noting that financing costs will be much lower than with private sector financing, while keeping vital public services in public and community hands.


The Ipsos-Reid polling results can be found at www.ipsos-reid.com by following the links >> Canada >> publicly released polls >> Canada >> April 8, 2004, Canadians’ Views On Public-Private Partnerships

For more information:
Danielle Savoie, CUPE Communications, cell (506) 381-1966