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Calgary – City Council has refused a request by the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 38 to address the council meeting this evening regarding the contracting out of a significant portion of Enmax to the private sector.

“Ignoring our concerns and our evidence is both a betrayal of Council’s commitment to transparency in its decision making and the Mayor’s commitment to keep Enmax public,” said CUPE Local 38 President Peter Marsden.

Enmax is currently in negotiations with Accenture, a private sector corporation with a dubious history of taking over public sector services, to replace Encompass. Encompass is a branch of Enmax which provides billing and telephone information services for Enmax and as well as for City services such as water, sewer and wastewater. The deal with Accenture was approved in principle by City Council and the Enmax Board last December.

“This is the same company that has cost the Ontario taxpayers millions of dollars according to Eric Peters, Ontario’s Auditor General. And, it is the same company that has been blacklisted by California’s State Treasurer for questionable business practices. Council has a duty to both inform the people of Calgary about this and to listen to all of their concerns. It certainly appears that both accountability and responsibility to the bottom line are being thrown out the window,” said Marsden.

To date, Marsden has received no response from the Mayor to a letter sent in January requesting the opportunity to present the unions’ concerns to Council this evening. Rather, the request was referred to Enmax Chair George Cornish. Cornish, not an elected representative of the people of Calgary, replied with assurances over the process of transferring employees from Encompass to Accenture.

“The response we got entirely misses the point. Where are the elected politicians on this issue?” asks Marsden. “We approached the Mayor and Council with significant concerns over the privatization of city services and about the company with which they have chosen to do business. This is another back room deal that will ultimately have a huge impact on city services and the economy of Calgary,” he said.

Accenture, a multi-national corporation based in Bermuda was previously known as Anderson Consulting. The corporation has been condemned for cost overruns in many jurisdictions including Texas, New Brunswick, Nebraska Virginia, Florida, Ohio, New York and the United Kingdom according to the Polaris Institute. And, according to Ontario’s Auditor General, a deal with Anderson Consulting to take over the welfare system in order to find cost savings, cost taxpayers $193 million while the 89.5 million the government was reported to have saved came from cuts in welfare rates.

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CUPE Local 38 represents inside workers with Enmax and the City of Calgary. CUPE is Canada’s largest union with over half a million women and men who provide public services. In Alberta, CUPE’s 31,000 members work in health care, municipalities, schools, colleges, universities, libraries, emergency medical services, social services and casinos. Visit our CUPE websites for more information www.cupe.ca and cupealberta.ab.ca

For further information:
Peter Marsden, President, CUPE Local 38 (403) 233-2700
Pam Beattie, CUPE Communications (780) 288-1230 (cellular)