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A major new initiative to protect public services and fight privatization and contracting out was adopted by delegates on Tuesday.

The Action Plan for Jobs and Public Services points out that 120,000 public sector jobs have disappeared in Canada between 1992 and 1996. Recently released 1997 figures add another 40,000 to that total.

Delegates endorsed the paper, which points out that the attack on the public sector is also an attack on equality. “The public sector is the largest source of good jobs for women, racial minorities, aboriginal people and people with disabilities. It helps distribute wealth more evenly among Canadians, raising the standard of living for those most disadvantaged.”

The action plan rejects all forms of privatization, including competitive bidding, public-private partnerships and government deregulation because they are designed to assist “large and powerful private sector corporations to subvert and take over the public sector.”

These include Marriott, MDS, Extendicare and Versa in health care; BFI, Lyonnaise des eaux and Serco in the municipal field and Laidlaw, ServiceMaster and Johnson Controls in the school board sector. The newest corporate targets are power and water systems.