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OTTAWA – Canada’s largest union has released a new report that shows it’s not just on Parliament Hill that Canadians should be concerned about the cost of corporate influence peddling and backroom deals.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees released its Annual Report on Privatization today, exposing the increasing corporate control of vital community services. The report provides ample evidence that when profits are introduced into public services, costs rise, services are cut, and quality and access suffer.

The story is the same across Canada,” says CUPE National President Judy Darcy. “We see cash-starved municipalities being heavily lobbied to privatize services by corporate hucksters and conflict-ridden consultants, even though costs will rise and local control is lost.”

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, community voices have succeeded in halting the privatization of a number of essential public services including Ontario’s Hydro One, Vancouver’s public water system and Calgary’s municipal electricity utility, Enmax.

But the threat continues from coast to coast. In Halifax, a French multinational is taking control of the city’s wastewater while in Moncton, another French water giant is making moves to control the city’s 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 since 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 weren’t for international trade deals, these costly schemes wouldn’t 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 don’t want privatization in their backyard – or anywhere else. Our community services, hospitals and schools should serve people, not profits.”

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The report can be found at cupe.ca/arp2002

For more information, contact Robert Fox at (613) 795-4977