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OTTAWA - Newfoundland and Labrador’s water services are in dire need of public investment and it’s about time the federal government provides the funding the province and the municipalities urgently need. That’s the message the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Newfoundland and Labrador Division delivered to several Atlantic-area MPs.

President of CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador Wayne Lucas and vice-president Donna Ryan delivered their message during a visit to Ottawa this week. The lobby was part of CUPEs nation-wide campaign calling on the federal government to invest $2 billion a year to upgrade water systems across the country.

According to Ryan, public investment is vital to protect the environment and ensure Canadians have access to clean safe water.

“Multinational corporations would like nothing better than for the federal government to divest itself of this responsibility,” says Ryan. “Our water services are in desperate need of improvement. If foreign-owned corporations get involved, they will hike prices and cut services.”

A handful of large corporations already own and control water facilities in France and Britain. Once in control these companies have drastically increased prices, violated environmental standards and cut deeply into the workforce.

Lucas stressed that the need for federal government investment in Newfoundland and Labrador is critical.

“St. John’s harbour is literally a cesspool. We’ve been dumping raw sewage into North America’s oldest harbour for 500 years,” says Lucas. “Many communities across this province don’t even have access to clean safe water. When is the federal government going to dip into their multibillion-dollar surplus and provide the funding we need to fix this mess?”

CUPE got assurances to pursue the matter from both Norman Dole, the Conservative MP for St. John’s East and Charles Hubbard, chair of the Atlantic Liberal Caucus. The two CUPE officials are arranging meetings with other Newfoundland and Labrador MPs, hoping to get a clear commitment from the federal government.

For more information please contact:
Wayne Lucas or Donna Ryan at (613) 238-6000
Richard Janecky at (613) 237-1590

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