Halifax Most municipal candidates support a publicly owned and operated harbour cleanup, according to a candidate questionnaire circulated by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
Of the 27 respondents, 16 said they supported public ownership and operation of waste water treatment, including two mayoralty candidates, Walter Fitzgerald and Peter Kelly. Mayoralty candidate Ken Ozman declined to give a yes or no answer, saying the HRM must choose the best and most efficient way. Two candidates said they did not support public ownership, and nine answered perhaps.
The fact that Mayor Fitzgerald answered yes indicates he has done a complete flip flop on the harbour clean up, says Danny Cavanagh, co-ordinator of CUPEs Water Watch Campaign. Clearly the residents of the HRM are getting their message across that they want publicly-owned and operated sewage treatment systems.
Candidates were asked if they supported the preparation of a full public bid before proceeding to privatize. The majority (16) said yes, two said no, and the remainder either declined to answer or said perhaps.
Almost all of the candidates said they would not support the privatization of drinking water (21).
The responses show there is strong support among sitting councillors for keeping our water services public, says Cavanagh. If this is the case, why is city staff forging ahead with their privatization plans?
Clearly we need to elect a council that is able to give strong direction to staff that what the public wants is a cost-effective, environmentally safe, and publicly-accountable harbour cleanup.
CUPEs Water Watch campaign will be holding a public information picket today at City Hall from 5 6 p.m.
For more information or for full questionnaire results please contact Danny Cavanagh at (902) 455-4180