The Future is Public: Towards Democratic Ownership of Public Services takes a deeper dive into the stories and examples shared at The Future is Public conference, which took place in December 2019. The book documents more than 1,400 examples of ending privatization from 58 countries, including more than 50 Canadian cases. It features a chapter from CUPE that contrasts local examples of ending privatization with the federal Liberal government’s push to privatize through the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB).
Just a few months after the conference, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the fight to end privatization even more important. Public services are the lifeline that is supporting people through the pandemic. And where services like health care have been privatized, the results for communities and workers fighting COVID-19 have been devastating.
CUPE’s chapter highlights a promising plan to contract in some of Winnipeg’s solid waste services, and profiles the benefits of ending water privatization in Owen Sound, Ontario and Taber, Alberta.
In Winnipeg, CUPE 500 is working to reverse more than a decade of solid waste privatization, starting with a pilot project for in-house solid waste collection. The project has faced some delays but is a promising first step to create good public jobs and deliver quality services.
In Owen Sound and Taber, bringing water and wastewater operations back in house is saving money and giving local governments more control. Both systems are CUPE workplaces.
As local governments end for-profit service delivery, the Liberal government is pushing for the CIB to help lead the economic recovery by brokering privatization deals for key public services and systems like water and wastewater, roads and bridges, green energy, transit, and more. The bank is targeting municipal and First Nation water and wastewater systems for privatization through risky and expensive public-private partnerships (P3s).
CUPE is going to fight for an economic recovery plan that takes us forward, not back. The Canadian and international examples in The Future is Public show there’s no room for profit in our public services and infrastructure.
The Future is Public is an inspiring blueprint for reversing privatization and building a better world. As workers in Canada and around the world get ready to fight post-pandemic calls for cuts, austerity, and privatization, The Future is Public shows public investment in reversing privatization and expanding public services will build healthy and resilient communities, and spark progress in the just transition to renewable energy.