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CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer Fred Hahn , along with National President Paul Moist, headlined a media conference on October 30th to support a major campaign by CUPE 503 to stop Ottawa City Council from cutting more jobs and services in its proposed budget expected this week.

Hahn told a packed conference that Ottawa City Council’s cuts, contracting out and privatization of public services will come at a high cost to the quality of life in the nation’s capital if not stopped. He added that Ottawa City Council has already turned over services to the private sector with disastrous results. “Residents’ tax dollars are bailing out the Bell Sensplex Arena and providing it with sweetheart deals so the private sector can run it. And what about the Ray Friel Centre which the city had to take over from a private operator. Council would have more money to fund appropriate levels of public services if it stopped these expensive privatization deals.”

CUPE 503 President Brian Madden said that libraries have been on the chopping block, wait lists for child care spaces are growing, recreation programs are threatened, there are unsafe living conditions in community housing and there’s a growing shortage of paramedics, making it difficult to keep up with medical emergencies. “This is not the kind of Ottawa that residents want.” 

Bruce Waller, President of CUPE 4000 representing Ottawa Hospital workers, was also on hand to talk about the expected service reductions and loss of community control that will likely happen as the local LHINs rationalizes all lab services through a private deal with the U.S. based Gamma Dynacare.

The media conference took place prior to CUPE’s free concert this Saturday featuring Trooper, The Cooper Brothers and Bowser and Blue at the Ottawa Civic Centre. Called Rock for Public Services, the concert will celebrate and bring home the importance of public services in building and strengthening communities.