Jul 05, 2011

CUPE members join the march for public water

ABBOTSFORD – CUPE members joined the Water Watch Mission-Abbotsford contingent in this year’s annual Canada Day Parade.  The community coalition was publicizing the upcoming referendum on the proposed Stave Lake public-private partnership (P3).

WWMA Abbotsford spokesperson Lynn Perrin said they “got lots of public support and had a chance to speak to many local people who hadn’t heard about the plan to operate water for profit for the next 25 years in Abbotsford. Many were appalled that such an idea would even be considered in Canada, let alone in our own community.” 

Perrin added “it was a great way to celebrate Canada Day, reminding people that the Canadian way is to keep water in public hands and to let Abbotsford residents know that they can keep it that way by voting to keep water public in November.”

CUPE General Vice-President and Strong Communities Working Group member Cindy McQueen was on hand waving the CUPE BC flag for public water. McQueen said “it’s so important for us to show our solidarity with community groups fighting to keep water public – we can’t afford not to.”

Water Watch Mission-Abbotsford handed out Water for Life – Not for Profit tattoos, bracelets, buttons and leaflets in English and Punjabi during and after the parade. The materials are aimed the public referendum on public water scheduled for November.

The City of Abbotsford needs public approval to hand over water services to a private corporation. In March, Mission residents and council voted No to the same project - the proposed $300-million Stave Lake P3 project.

While private companies have been used across the country to design and build water infrastructure, Canadian communities have rarely chosen the private route to maintain public drinking water. Public systems are known to be cost-efficient, accountable, flexible, environmentally-sustainable and maintain control in public hands.

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COPE 491