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This week, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) announced that it wants to bail out of a P3 contract with the City of Oshawa as the for-profit operator of the General Motors Centre. In 2005, MLSE had estimated a profit of about $95,000 in its first year. By late 2007, MLSE had met with Council to reveal the GMC was poised to lose $529,000 that year.

This is yet one more example why CUPE Ontario tabled a major new campaign to fight privatization in all its forms  at the recent OMECC conference. See for more details.)

The following letter from Sid Ryan is being published this week in Oshawa This Week and Durham Region News. The article “MLSE bows out of management contract with GMC” is attached below.

Re: MLSE bows out of management contract with GMC

Dear Editor,

Please excuse me if Oshawa residents aren’t surprised that MLSE has bailed out of one of the worst deals that City Council could have made for the city. When Council first proposed this deal, 18 out of 20 community groups at a public meeting at the Tosca Hall said that allowing a for-profit firm to operate the facility was the wrong way to go. In response, the Mayor and his allies on Council bullheadedly pushed the MLSE option through Council while branding those opposed as ‘naysayers’. Look who has egg on their faces now.

Oshawa Council sold off its public hydro utility to private interests to raise $30 million for the arena, thereby exposing ratepayers to higher electricity costs charged by for-profit operators. It then borrowed an additional $22 million to complete an arena that private corporations, like MLSE, could run to make a profit for shareholders.

This whole fiasco helped push Oshawa’s debt through the roof, driving up property taxes and driving seniors with fixed incomes out of their homes. We now learn, courtesy of front-page headlines in last Monday’s Toronto Star, that young families in North Oshawa are currently faced with the highest property taxes in all of the GTA. Now, as community groups predicted, taxpayers are left holding the can. Shame on this council for not listening to its residents.


Sid Ryan

Ontario President

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Telephone:  (416) 209-0066                                                                                                                  


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