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TORONTO A new community-labour coalition called the Toronto Civic Action Network (Toronto CAN) says that the City of Toronto will quickly deteriorate if city councillors privatize services and eliminate programs.

If we want a run-down city, this is the way to go, John Cartwright, the president of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council said at a news conference the coalition held today. People have always been impressed by Toronto because of its cleanliness, its beautiful parks, its transit, and its extensive community services. These are the things that made this city great. Now they are all in danger.

Many of Torontos city councillors are examining city services and programs with an eye to contracting them out or eliminating them, as the city begins the process of developing its next budget.

The city budget needs to reflect the serious needs of the citizens of Toronto, especially those that are marginalized because they are poor or because of their race, their age, or their gender, said Tanya Gulliver, a social justice worker with the Church of the Holy Trinity. Community services need to be enhanced to protect the most vulnerable, not slashed to protect the bottom line.

The coalition raised concerns that council will proceed with cutbacks without properly consulting Torontonians. Its time to add a little democracy into the running of the citys business, said Peter Clutterbuck, a volunteer with Community Voices of Support. The public should have a say when it comes to big changes in services the city provides.

The coalition will be calling on the federal government and the province to give more support to Toronto. Downloading is a bad word in the community, said Tam Goossen, the president of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations. Nobody is taking charge. We need a strong Toronto to address issues in our diverse community, such as housing and youth unemployment.

Toronto CAN was recently created when two groups, Stand Up For Toronto and Save Our City, decided to unite. The coalition will be lobbying city councillors and asking community groups and members of the public to sign on to the Toronto CAN campaign.


Shannon McManus, Communications Officer:
416-292-3999 or 416-766-3252