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STURGEON FALLS, Ont. – Over 4,000 people packed Goulard Park in Sturgeon Falls last night to hear rock bands Trooper and High Holy Days at a free concert presented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Called Rock for Public Services, the event was the first of a series of rock concerts that CUPE Ontario has planned in cities across the province to celebrate and bring home the importance of public services.

“This is our way of thanking people for their ongoing support and dedication to preserving public services that are the bedrock of strong communities,” said CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan.

Speaking at the event, Ryan told the crowd “You know, just like a good rock band, we’re there from cradle to grave for you. CUPE workers are there when you have your first-born at the hospital to when your parents go into a nursing home. When you turn on your tap, it’s because of a CUPE municipal member. When you turn on your lights, it’s because of a CUPE hydro worker. It is CUPE workers providing public services at your schools, libraries, community centres and universities, as well as the paramedics who provide life-saving services.”

According to CUPE Ontario, the provincial government and local municipalities mistakenly believe that contracting out and privatizing services is going to save them money. In the long term, privatization costs taxpayers more and delivers less.

“When work is contracted out to the lowest bidder, this hurts your community,” said Ryan to a big round of applause. “People cannot afford to live on $12 an hour. They cannot purchase goods and services from the small business community. They can’t afford to buy a home and can’t afford to send their kids to university. This hits communities hard.”

He added that residents need to stand up for quality public services and not let politicians sell them off through privatization, contracting out or relocation of these jobs and services. “Let’s raise a little hell when CEOs contract out good paying jobs to $12 an hour mcjobs.”

The Sturgeon Falls concert was a huge success both for the community and for CUPE’s fight to preserve public services. “It was a great opportunity to inform a lot of people about the value of quality public services,” said Ryan. The next Rock for Public Services concert with Trooper is scheduled for this Wednesday in Kenora. In August, rock band April Wine will play Kingston, Ajax and Welland, with further concerts scheduled for London and Ottawa.


For more information, contact:

Sid Ryan  CUPE Ontario President 416-209-0066
Valerie Dugale CUPE Communications 647-225-3685  

Photographs from event

Click here to see video and the North Bay Nugget Article