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PRINCE GEORGECity council did the right thing last night by voting to postpone the sale of BC Rail in spite of the mayors strong support for the sell-off of the profitable public asset, says CUPE BC.

Its time to take the side of the community here and in North Vancouver and all along the railway line, CUPE BC president Barry ONeill told about 750 protesters weathered minus 16 degrees celsius cold to support councillors fighting the deal. The majority of this council knows that and acted wisely.

The person who doesnt know it and has chosen another side is Mayor (Colin) Kinsley, ONeill said. Kinsley is one of the nine politicians appointed to a new government committee set up to smooth the sell-off.

The creation of this committee, announced as the council was meeting and with the mayor on it, is a desperate measure that suggests the sale is a done deal, ONeill said. The Liberal government may have cut a deal with CN Rail already.

Still, council took the right step by showing the government that communities in the North do not want this deal. That includes the local business community. A recent survey shows that only 1 in 73 of the companies that do business with the countrys 3rd largest railway agree with the privatization scheme.

Transportation Minister (Judith) Reid and Finance Minister (Gary) Collins have been parachuted here in a hurry, ONeill said. Is it because they are here to sell a done deal or lose credibility to their privatization-hungry friends?

ONeill pledged to shadow the government committee and challenge the notion that governments should be selling public assets instead of building them.

If our political leaders are bent on selling not building our province, he said. We need to change those politics. We need to take the side of our communities and fight those politics.


Ron Verzuh, CUPE Communications, 604-291-1940 or cell 604-828-7668.