One thousand people came out to the Kenora Rec Centre to hear rock band Trooper at a free concert tonight presented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Called ‘Rock for Public Services,’ the event was the second in a series of rock concerts that CUPE Ontario has planned in cities across the province to celebrate and bring home the importance of public services.
“This is our way of thanking people in Kenora for their ongoing support and dedication to preserving public services that are the bedrock of strong communities,” said CUPE Ontario Vice- President Candace Rennick.
Speaking at the event, Rennick told the crowd, “You know, just like a good rock band, CUPE is there for you from the moment you’re born till the day you die, delivering public services. CUPE workers are there when you have your first-born at the hospital to when your parents go into a nursing home. It is CUPE workers providing public services like hydro and water and snow plowing, at your schools, libraries and community centres as well as the paramedics who provide life-saving services.”
According to CUPE Ontario, the provincial government and local municipalities mistakenly believe that contracting out and privatizing services is going to save them money. In the long term, privatization costs taxpayers more and delivers less.
“When work is contracted out to the lowest bidder, this hurts your community,” said Rennick to a big round of applause. “People cannot afford to live on $10 to $12 an hour. They cannot purchase goods and services from the small business community. They can’t afford to buy a home, put their kids into baseball and hockey leagues or send them to university. This hits communities hard.”
Rennick added that residents need to stand up for quality public services and not let politicians sell them off through privatization, contracting out or relocation of these jobs and services. “Let’s raise a little hell every time politicians try to sell off public services.”
The Kenora concert was a huge success both for the community and for CUPE’s fight to preserve public services. “It was a great opportunity to inform a lot of people about the value of quality public services,” said Rennick. In August, rock band April Wine will play Kingston, Ajax and Welland, with further concerts scheduled for London and Ottawa.
For more information, contact:
Candace Rennick CUPE Ontario Vice-President 705-743-0600
Judy Bain President, CUPE 1781 807-467-1990
Valerie Dugale CUPE Communications 647-225-3685