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National President Paul Moist spoke about the dangers of public-private partnerships (P3s) to an overflow crowd of CUPE leaders, labour representatives, municipal and provincial politicians in Cornwall on Sept. 20. The city is considering privatizing an arena.

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Moist warned of the risks involved when public services are provided by private business, and urged local politicians to review research materials provided by a variety of sources. “Other cities across the country have rejected P3s as a way to finance schools, hospitals and arenas,” Moist said. “Cities in Ontario include Ottawa, Kingston, and Hamilton.”

Cornwall city council held a town hall meeting on Sept. 25 to hear from residents on the proposed P3 arena, and a vote is expected in October.

The best interests of the residents are served when public services are threatened by the profit motive of big business. When business is involved and the bottom line is at stake, user fees, poor maintenance and staffing issues become the norm,” Moist said.

CUPE has launched a campaign to inform Cornwall residents and municipal councils about the operation of P3s, and to warn of the history of complications and failures associated with such projects.