On July 28, more than 340 Torontonians registered and lined up to defend the public services we all rely on—including many CUPE members. The Mayor of Toronto and his executive committee held a marathon meeting, as the city’s public made deputations in response to a KPMG report that showcased “opportunities” to cut public services and programs.
City Hall saw impassioned speeches including:
- Janet Bojti, CUPE 4400, speaking about food programs in schools
- Janet Tiebo, CUPE 2484, defending affordable public childcare
- Vanessa Hunt, CUPE 1281, listing the benefits of youth leader ship initiatives
- Pat Lenathen, CUPE 416, citing Chicago’s debacle after privatizing parking
- Grant Ankerman, president of CUPE 1600, speaking about Toronto’s zoo
It was about 1:45 a.m. when Maureen O’Reilly, president of CUPE 4948, stepped up to the microphone to defend the city’s public libraries. Her deputation garnered a huge reaction from the crowd, as she presented the committee with over ten boxes of petitions, signed by people who want to protect Toronto libraries.
“The room erupted in a standing ovation, with clapping and whistling,” said O’Reilly. “People were chanting save our libraries!”
- Join the nearly 40,000 people who have already signed the petition
Earlier this month, KPMG presented a core services review to City Hall that highlighted various opportunities to save money by making cuts. Their review suggests making absurd cuts to the much-needed public services that Mayor Ford was elected to protect.
KPMG’s findings found an “opportunity” to eliminate 2,000 child care spaces, reduce the standard for snow clearing in Toronto, and sell off our city’s long-term care homes to the private sector.
“It was inspiring to see our brothers and sisters speaking so passionately. They were defending the services that we use, and services that we provide,” said CUPE Ontario’s President, Fred Hahn. “It renewed my faith that people care about public services.”