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Sudbury Star (On)
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Page: A4
Section: Greater Sudbury
Byline: Rachel Punch

A Canadian Union of Public Employees bus travelling across the province to shore up votes for the New Democrat Party made a stop outside a bottled water forum in Sudbury on Sunday.

“We did a clear assessment of the political parties, what their records are and what they stand for,” said Fred Hahn, secretary-treasurer of CUPE Ontario.

“There is only one party that we can recommend to our members and that’s the NDP.”

Hahn was standing outside the bus, displaying pictures of Premier Dalton McGuinty with a Pinocchio nose and Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory holding a fist full of $100 bills.

The bus was at the water forum, cosponsored by CUPE.

“If you look at the party platforms on water, it’s crystal clear,” Hahn said. “The Tories are only interested in letting business take whatever they can to make a profit off it. The Liberals are really no better. They have done very little around the regulation of taking public water and selling it.”

He said the NDP is the only party “that understands and recognizes that water is a human right.”

Wyman MacKinnon, president of CUPE Local 4705, was a panellist at the water forum at Tom Davies Square.

He said municipal infrastructures are aging and local governments are strapped for money. Water companies are working to convince the province to have more public-private partnerships for water delivery.

“If the provincial government allows this trend to continue, we will see many services, from drinking water to waste management, to expensive infrastructure like sewers and water mains – that were built with taxpayers’ dollars – sold off to the lowest bidder,” MacKinnon said.

NDP candidates Dave Battaino, for Sudbury Riding, and France Gelinas, for Nickel Belt, both attended the event.

“In our ‘Due North Plan,’ we want to protect the natural resources in Northern Ontario. One of the natural resources is the water,” Battaino said. “We believe in nothing but public ownership. We don’t want to give businesses any leg room to take our water and turn it into a private industry.”

Gelinas said the NDP sees protecting water as serving a public good.

“It belongs to the people of Ontario. It should not belong to the few select who make money off of it,” Gelinas said.