Just as the lights are going out on its term in office, Calgary city council appears to be experiencing a power surge. In late July, council shocked Calgarians by announcing plans to privatize the municipally owned electric company, Enmax.
The proposed sell-off of the highly profitable utility – estimated to be worth more than $1.2 billion – has caused sparks to fly.
CUPE, which represents the majority of the 1,200 employees at the company, has launched a campaign urging council to “pull the plug” on the privatization plan. Other organizations are gathering thousands of signatures on a petition.
City council voted 9-5 in support of selling Enmax at a closed-door meeting in late July. It hoped to rush the deal through by mid-September, just a month before the civic election.
Enmax, which is reaping record profits, is the city’s largest municipal asset.
Council’s plan to sale the company, however, may be short-circuited by residents, who are angry over the lack of public input into the proposed sale.
Councillors had claimed it would be “impossible to have a public discussion about whether or not to divest of Enmax, because it would devalue the worth of the company.”
But “charged” telephone conversations with angry voters have changed their minds. At a special meeting in late August, council voted unanimously to reverse its position and hold a public meeting on September 11.
A campaign by CUPE Local 38 is increasing pressure on city council to abandon its privatization plan. The local is running ads on four Calgary radio stations, encouraging voters to tell council to pull the plug on the plan! They also have organized an e-mail postcard campaign at cupe.ca
To find out how you can help to put the lights-out on council’s privatization deal, call Brian at CUPE Local 38, 403- 233-2700.