Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Winnipeg is not for sale"

A group of citizens operating under the banner "Winnipeg is not for sale" has come together to oppose the City's long-term plan to sell off, contract out and privatize our public facilities and programs. In order to demonstrate our opposition to Katz's privatization agenda we've organized a protest at City Hall on Wednesday March 26th at 8:30am -- the day that City Council will approve the 2008 Operating Budget. A poster for the event is attached. More information about the trend towards the privatization of City services is provided below.
To contact Winnipeg is Not for Sale, phone 947-9334, or email
Please forward this email far and wide, and come out on March 26th to send the message that "Winnipeg is not for sale"!
One of the clearest indications of the shift towards privatization at City Hall is the final report of the Economic Opportunity Commission(EOC). Last year Katz struck a committee tasked with finding ways to replace the revenue lost by the proposed elimination of the Municipal Business Tax. The Economic Opportunity Commission (EOC) was comprised mainly of representatives of business and the manufacturing sector and did not include any public input. In June of last year the EOC released its final report entitled "Improving Our City's Competitiveness". Among the many recommendations in the report are suggestions to replace community club and library staff with volunteers, sell public swimming pools and rec centres, increase the use of Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) for capital projects, contract out unionized City jobs and attract corporate sponsorship for public facilities.
The EOC report expects that these recommendations will be implemented over the course of the next 6 years. While the 2008 Operating Budget does not propose to cut the business tax as expected, it does make significant cuts to public sector City jobs, cuts funding to the arts by more than half, and it continues the use of Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) to finance capital projects. As the publicly stated intent to cut the business tax, Katz's "open for business" rhetoric, and the EOC report all demonstrate, this budget can be seen as the continuation of a process of public disinvestment that began when Katz was first elected in '04, and may very well continue for the remainder of his term (if it is left unchallenged).
To view the complete EOC report, visit:

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