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KINGSTON, Ont. – Over 2,500 people defied ominous clouds last night to party with rock band April Wine at a free concert presented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario. Called ‘Rock for Public Services,’ the event was one of a series of community concerts that CUPE Ontario has held in cities across the province to celebrate and bring home the importance of public services.

“This is our way of thanking people and some City Councilors in Kingston for their ongoing support and dedication to preserving public services that are the bedrock of strong communities,” said Michael Hurley, First Vice-President of CUPE Ontario and President of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions. The evening also featured rock and roll outlaw, Sab, as the opening act.

According to CUPE Ontario, the provincial government and many local municipalities mistakenly believe that contracting out and privatizing services is going to save them money. But in the long run, privatization is a rip-off, Hurley said.  It costs taxpayers more and delivers less.

“When work is contracted out to the lowest bidder, this hurts your community,” said Hurley to a big round of applause. “People cannot afford to live on $10 to $12 an hour.  All too often, this consigns people to a life of working poverty, and we will not accept this.”

Hurley also warned concert-goers about the situation at Kingston General Hospital, where nutrition services are facing the risk of being contracted out behind a Liberal government smokescreen.  The McGuinty government has fired KGH’s CEO and has placed the hospital under its direct supervision because of its opposition to chronic provincial underfunding. 

“We must make our voices loud and clear and fight off any reduction of services at Kingston General,” Hurley said. 

The Kingston concert was a huge success both for the community and for CUPE’s fight to preserve public services, said Hurley.

“Rock for Public Services is a great opportunity to inform people about the value of quality public services while we rock it right wide and have a good time,” said Hurley.  “Nothing wrong with that.”

Future Rock for Public Services concerts are being planned for later this fall.

Check out some pictures from the concert.



For more information, contact:

Michael Hurley  First Vice-President, CUPE Ontario  416-884-0770

David Robbins    CUPE Communications  613-878-1431