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The Ottawa Citizen
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: C3
Section: City
Source: The Ottawa Citizen

More than 4,000 people attended the Canadian Union of Public Employees‘ Rock for Public Services free concert last night at the Ottawa Civic Centre in support of Ottawa‘s municipal workers in CUPE 503 and OttawaHospital workers in CUPE 4000.

The concert — which featured classic Canadian rock bands Trooper and the Cooper Brothers, as well as the comedy duo Bowser and Blue — was one in a series the union has presented in cities across Ontario to celebrate public services in the face of cuts.

Ottawa Mayor Larry O’Brien will table next year’s municipal budget this week, which is expected to include a plan to cut 500 jobs from the municipal payroll.

Over the last few months, Mr. O’Brien has said repeatedly that with tough economic times coming, the city needs to rein in spending.

The union hopes the concerts will raise awareness about the important role public servants play in communities. They are also asking the public to go to City Hall during the budget debates later this fall to let council know how they feel about the cuts.

“You know, just like a good rock band, public services are there for you from the moment you’re born till the day you die,” CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan reportedly said during last night’s show, addressing the concert crowd.

“Public service workers are there when you have your first-born at the hospital to when your parents go into a nursing home. They provide services like hydro and water and snowplowing, at your schools, libraries and community centres as well as the paramedics who provide lifesaving services.”