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December 2, 2011

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Petition Harper: Stop forcing communities to privatize

BURNABY- CUPE BC has launched a petition to fight back against the lack of federal funding for public infrastructure projects across Canada.  The petition calls for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the federal government to “unhook” the P3 (public private partnership) strings that are attached to the only federal infrastructure funds for communities made available, those in the unpopular PPP Canada Fund. 

Harper’s government is, in effect, forcing communities to privatize their services by making access to federal funds for vital infrastructure projects, such as water and wastewater, conditional upon the project being a P3.

Abbotsford, B.C. is the latest community to join this lobby to “unhook” P3 strings from federal funding. Following the 74 per cent rejection of the Stave Lake P3 water project by Abbotsford residents in the Nov.19 referendum, the federal government has withdrawn the $65.7 million P3 grant and refuses to make the funds available to fund a public water project.

Abbotsford’s new Mayor Bruce Banman insists that the Conservative government hear loud and clear the will of Abbotsford residents (who put Conservative MP Ed Fast in office) is to keep water in public hands – no P3.

NDP MP Jamie Nicholls, Deputy Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Critic recently wrote a letter to the Abbotsford Times saying  “I look forward to bringing up the concerns of Abbotsford and Mission in Parliament and I will fight to keep our public infrastructure exactly how it is: publicly funded.”

BC communities began joining the lobby earlier this year, beginning with Mission Council’s decision to write a letter to Harper demanding they make federal funds available for public water infrastructure, not just P3s.  A similar resolution was passed at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in September, garnering almost unanimous support of municipal leaders throughout the province.

CUPE BC's Water Watch is encouraging all concerned citizens to support this lobby by signing this petition to Prime Minister Harper and Finance Minister Flaherty urging them to cut P3 strings from federal infrastructure funding for communities.

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