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Taking back our communities is a call to defend Canadian communities from the ongoing push to privatize, cut and restructure in the name of globalization. The paper highlights the need for urgent action to strengthen and expand public services – the ties that bind communities together and improve our quality of life. As workers on the front line at the local level from coast to coast, CUPE members are well-positioned to take on these fights in every city and town.

Taking back outlines concrete ways to improve the quality of life in urban and rural communities. The action plan for healthy, safe communities includes: proper funding to deliver high quality services; an end to privatization and contracting out; strong environmental protection and sustainable planning to ensure greener communities; as well as services and programs to reduce poverty and inequity, ensuring just and diverse communities.

At the heart of this strategy is democratic local control of the services citizens rely on – including municipal services, health care, education and social services. Privatization and international trade agreements restrict the ability of elected local leaders to make community-centered decisions. Strong collective agreements, combined with community-wide mobilization in broad coalitions, can return control where it belongs.

Taking back calls on CUPE members to go on community alert, standing firm on the front lines to protect the common wealth in our cities and towns from privateers. CUPE’s vision will build vibrant, thriving communities for the new century.