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(Toronto) A new poll shows that by better than two to one, Torontonians reject the idea of a tax freeze and instead favour improved public services.

The poll, conducted by Vector Research for the Toronto Civic Employees Union, CUPE Local 416, shows that even in high-income households that traditionally favour lower taxes, 64% say it is more important to improve public services than to freeze property taxes.

This should be a clear message to the candidates who will make up the new council, said Brian Cochrane, President of the civic workers union. The citizens of Toronto do not want a tax freeze at all costs.

Says Cochrane, Nearly half of those asked say they are less likely to vote for a candidate for council who supports privatizing city services.

Other highlights of the Vector Poll include:

  • Six out of 10 say public employees, not private companies hired by the city, should maintain the quality of city drinking water, run water filtration and sewage treatment, maintain libraries, and collect residential garbage. They agree it is because public employees are more accountable.

  • A whopping majority (79%) of Toronto residents support an alternative to shipping residential garbage to northern Ontario that involves composting and recycling near the city even if it may initially cost more than shipping Torontos garbage to northern Ontario.

  • Some 65% of Toronto residents are worried that a Walkerton-type water contamination outbreak would occur if the city cuts staff or contracts out or privatizes the operation of city water and sewage treatment plants. Just 17% are not worried at all about a disaster similar to the E. coli outbreak that killed seven people in Walkerton earlier this year.

  • A significant majority of residents (56% to 37%) say the Citys own employees would do a better job of maintaining city services than private contractors hired by the city.

The poll was conducted October 17-23 during a period of intense media coverage of the Adams Mine deal. The findings in this poll are based on telephone interviews with 502 adults across Toronto. The results based on a random sample this size will differ by no more than 4.4 percentage points.

For information:
Brian Cochrane, President -
Toronto Civic Employees Union CUPE Local 416
(416) 968-7721 (o) - (416) 271-6538 (Cell)
Marc Zwelling, Vector Research
(416) 733-2320 (o)
John McCracken, CUPE Communications Rep.
(416) 292-3999 (o)

OPEIU 491/gpb