CUPEs Annual Report on Privatization shows its not just on Parliament Hill that Canadians should be concerned about the cost of corporate influence peddling and backroom deals.
The 2002 report, released May 29, exposes the increasing corporate control of vital community services, providing ample evidence that when profits are introduced costs rise, services are cut, and quality and access suffer.
The story is the same across Canada, says National President Judy Darcy. We see cash-starved municipalities being heavily lobbied to privatize services by corporate hucksters and conflict-ridden consultants.
Called Cross-Country Sell-Off, the report documents the efforts of multinational corporations and their allies to take control of water, hospitals, schools and other public services vital to our health and quality of life. The 230-page report contains chapters that focus on Halifax, Moncton, Toronto, Regina, Calgary and Abbotsford, British Columbia.
Most of these deals are made behind closed doors, says Darcy, because they know that when they are subject to public scrutiny, the gap between the promise and the reality is obvious. And when Canadians know the facts, their opposition to privatization is fierce.
Over the past year, CUPE campaigns have helped head off or delay the privatization of a number of essential public services including Ontarios Hydro One, Vancouvers public water system and Calgarys municipal electricity utility, Enmax.
But the threat continues from coast to coast. In Halifax, a French multinational is taking control of the citys wastewater while in Moncton, another French water giant is making moves to control the citys water distribution system.
The city of Toronto is looking at privatizing everything from child care to waste removal while in Regina, local businesses are suffering the local library contracted purchasing out-of-province.
In Calgary, the province is on the brink of approving a private hospital, and both British Columbia and Ontario are pushing privately-owned and financed hospitals, repeating a costly and dismal failure in Britain.
If it werent for international trade deals, these costly schemes wouldnt be so dangerous, but under NAFTA and the GATS, we run the risk that community control of these services will be lost forever, says Darcy.
Canadians dont want privatization in their backyard or anywhere else. Our community services, hospitals and schools should serve people, not profits.
The report can be found at cupe.ca/arp2002. Copies will be mailed to CUPE locals in the coming week.