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(Stellarton) The President of Canadas largest union says HRM council has an opportunity now to do the right thing, and go with a publicly-owned and operated water treatment facility for the Halifax Harbour.

Speaking to the CUPE Nova Scotia provincial convention in Stellarton today, Judy Darcy told a record number of delegates, last weeks announcement by HRM that it was withdrawing its legal action against one of the private bidders, means its time to move forward with a public model.

Says Darcy, I have confidence that Halifax Mayor, Peter Kelly and members of council have had enough of the legal wrangling and now realize that HRM itself must take the leadership role thats needed to get the Halifax Harbour cleaned up once and for all.

If HRM needs more proof that privatization of water or waste water is fraught with problems, they need only look to a recent legal opinion by international trade expert, Steven Shrybman. Shrybman says, Municipal governments should think twice before privatizing public services because under international trade rules, the cost of reversing that decision could be prohibitive.

Trade agreements, like NAFTA and now the FTAA, stack the deck against public delivery of services. But worse still, they make privatization a virtual one-way street, making it impossible to return control of vital public services to governments. I dont think residents of the Halifax Regional Municipality want this to happen, says Darcy.

Water is Nova Scotias most valuable resource, says Darcy, and we simply cannot let it be sold to the lowest bidder.

CUPE is Canadas largest union, with 500,000 members across the country, some 15,000 here in Nova Scotia. They work in hospitals, nursing homes, school boards, municipal government, universities, social services agencies, libraries and more.

For information:

John McCracken CUPE Communications Rep. (902) 455-4180 (o) (902) 222-8457 (cell)