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Canada’s prospects for the future rest on the strength and the vitality of its cities. To realize our potential, we need a full range of quality public services, securely and properly funded with the federal and provincial governments paying their fair share.

We need public services that are truly accountable to the public, where tax dollars are invested in service, and all members of the community can participate actively in open, transparent decision-making. The authority of communities to govern in the public interest has to be respected, without constraints imposed by international trade deals.

We need a massive reinvestment in the services that create opportunity and wealth — health, education, housing, income security, water and transportation. These services must be delivered in as inclusive a manner as possible, embracing the community’s diversity and making special efforts to reach out to those who face discrimination.

We need communities that are healthy and sustainable, green communities that foster the development of green jobs and harbour our natural resources for generations to come. And we need communities that offer secure employment that pays fair wages, where the contribution of workers is respected and encouraged.

All of these goals are within our reach, but each becomes less attainable if we allow the quest for profits to override the public interest. Across the country, Canadians are rallying to defend the public services they depend on so strongly, knowing that the first line of defense against the global corporate agenda is right in our own backyard.

Building communities for the future

Cities and towns are creators of economic and social wealth. They can no longer be starved of the resources they need to do their job properly. As over-stretched cities reach their limits, the federal and provincial governments must heed the community call for recognition and support for the key role cities and towns play in providing quality of life and economic growth.

The same powers that created the urban crisis must be pressed to reinvest in and renew their relationships with cities. Halting and reversing urban decay will depend heavily on public services. Public services must be renewed and reformed to better meet community needs today and in the future. A strong network of accountable, publicly owned and operated services is the backbone of a city that’s economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. Across the country, Canadians are taking up the challenge, defending services against for-profit predators and building democratic, healthy communities.