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CUPE municipal workers from across Canada met in Toronto on February 16 - 18 to discuss how to deliver quality public services to Canada’s communities in the face of underfunding, privatization and trade agreements which threaten to undermine those services.

In a powerful speech to delegates on the final day of the meeting, Stephen Lewis called on municipal workers across Canada to continue their efforts to protect vital community services. Lewis is a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University and is the chair of the board of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which is dedicated to turning the tide of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Here are some excerpts from his inspirational speech.

The value of municipal public services: In this excerpt Lewis speaks about the value of protecting public services and resisting privatization. He tells workers that they should be proud of their role in building strong communities in Canada.



Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s plans to privatize garbage collection:  In this excerpt Lewis takes on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s plans to privatization garbage collection. Lewis argues that Ford’s decision is not based on real evidence that his plan will reduce costs or provide better service but rather, the decision is “specious, irrational and punitive and ideological.”