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There was a time when the annual conference of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities provided a chance for municipal politicians and staff to share experiences, exchange ideas and catch up on the latest innovations in public service delivery.

Now it’s mainly a trade show where multinationals try to entice mayors and managers to privatize ever more of their municipal services.

But at last year’s conference in Halifax, CUPE made clear we don’t intend to cede victory to the privateers.

CUPE set up a Public Works! display, providing delegates with information on the pitfalls of privatization.

As well, we ran an ad in FCM’s magazine, sent to 14,000 municipal councillors and administrators across Canada. And National President Judy Darcy spoke with many FCM delegates, impressing upon them the union’s determination to protect public services.

Combined with the lively launch of the Halifax Water Watch committee that same weekend, FCM delegates – and the likes of United Water, Laidlaw and BFI – were reminded that at the National level and local by local, CUPE’s a force to contend with.