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VANCOUVER, B.C. CUPE BC is urging its 65,000 members to stand in solidarity with First Nations by boycotting the treaty referendum.

Dont participate in this shameful sham, CUPE BC president Barry ONeill said. It is yet another embarrassment that will further tarnish our image in the eyes of the world, including those of investors.

In a leaflet sent to CUPE members this week, the union outlines several ways that the treaty referendum will hurt British Columbia, not the least of which is the $10 million it will cost taxpayers already hit with huge service cuts.

The Campbell Liberals are barreling ahead with a plan that no one in their right mind thinks will do anything good for B.C, ONeill said. Even right-wing party pollster Angus Reid has said the referendum is one of the most amateurish, one-sided attempts to gauge the public will that I have seen in my professional career.

The list of people opposed to the referendum is growing. On Sunday, the Anglican Church urged its members to vote no saying the eight referendum questions were loaded and suggested their members protest.

Treaty negotiators and policy experts object to it on principle. They also point out its many flaws. And these are not people that the Campbell Liberals would lump into their special interest group grab bag.

This isnt about enhancing the democratic process, ONeill said. Its another example of how the Campbell Liberals bully the public to accept their viewpoint. So much for democracy.

CUPE members are being asked to boycott the treaty referendum and turn their ballots over to the nearest First Nations office or CUPE area office.


Contact: Ron Verzuh, CUPE Communications,