CUPE fighting Abbotsford’s P3 proposal behind the scenes

CUPE, the union representing city water workers, has had a prominent behind-the-scenes role in the debate over the P3 water referendum...

A Water Watch logo taken from a CUPE website.

CUPE, the union representing city water workers, has had a prominent behind-the-scenes role in the debate over the P3 water referendum in Abbotsford.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees has paid for newspaper advertising and mailouts, urging people to vote no to the city’s proposed public-private partnership to build a new water system to tap Stave Lake.

Critics say CUPE’s involvement with Water Watch Mission-Abbotsford serves to discredit the group.

CUPE’s website shows Water Watch listed under the heading “CUPE Campaigns.” It lists the local WWMA group along with seven others around B.C.

But WWMA spokesperson Lynn Perrin says her group is not controlled by the union.

“CUPE is an ally, and so is the Council of Canadians,” said Perrin. “CUPE and the Council of Canadians have been working on public water concerns for quite awhile.”

She said both groups have contributed financially to the Abbotsford WWMA campaign for a “no” vote, but not to Perrin’s personal campaign for council.

She said CUPE Local 774 was informed about the P3 proposal in June 2010, but WWMA did not form until March 9, when she and other citizens learned of the plan.

Perrin said whether CUPE would lose jobs under a P3 deal is not certain, adding the union has been successful in negotiating automatic certification for public services that have been privatized in the past.

Asked why CUPE is not identified in Water Watch’s advertising, and why the union does not want to be publicly associated with WWMA, Perrin said, “You’ll have to ask them.

“I’m not CUPE, I’m the community,” she answered.

Murray Bush, a CUPE communications representative, said CUPE has contributed financially to Water Watch campaigns in Abbotsford and elsewhere, but that Water Watch is a separate entity.

“It’s not an arm of CUPE, I can tell you that,” said Bush.

Diane Kalen-Sukra, CUPE’s B.C. privatization coordinator and B.C. Water Watch coordinator, responded to questions about CUPE’s involvement by email, saying:

“Water Watch Mission-Abbotsford is a broad based coalition of concerned community members and organizations, including the Council of Canadians and CUPE. We have almost 1,000 people on our supporters lists, names we have gathered in our volunteer outreach activities since the summer. We have neither endorsed nor funded any municipal candidates. Our primary activity has been face-to-face contact with community members as we do not have the resources (like the city)  to conduct polls, hire a P3 army (literally 13 full-time employees to sell the City project and a Vancouver ad agency tied to the NPA), divert staff resources  and engage in costly blanket advertising – you can see for yourself that Abbotsford is plastered with city propaganda paid for by taxpayers without their consent.

Opposition to this P3 water project runs deep and includes men and women, students, members of all faith communities, farmers, business people, water workers – folks from all walks of life. To suggest other motives is to ignore that the city’s fear-mongering campaign to push this water P3 is deeply unpopular.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Swoop Airlines. (Contributed)
Daily direct flights between Abbotsford and Toronto start Wednesday

Swoop announces new operations at Toronto Pearson Airport

Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness watches the results on election night. The ex-Liberal’s tumultuous campaign and the narrow margin for victory ahead of the mail-in ballot count leaves the future of the riding’s seat in limbo for at least the next week. (Facebook/Laurie Throness)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Future for incumbent Throness uncertain as riding awaits results

Chilliwack-Kent candidate hopeful, resigned waiting on final count

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash
Trick-or-treat drive-thru takes place at Tradex in Abbotsford

Treats and giveaways handed out at event on Saturday, Oct. 31

The Abbotsford Trail Running Club has transformed the Valley Vertikiller into the Valley Verticuddler for 2020. (Matt Bolam photo)
Abbotsford Trail Running Club transforms Valley Vertikiller into Verticuddler for 2020

Local club has raised close to $3,000 for Central Fraser Valley Search and Rescue with event

File Photo
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Agassiz Seniors Community

First declared outbreak in Agassiz-Harrison since pandemic began

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Graphic on promo material for Best Buy Canada’s Tech Wonderland event.
Drive-through ‘Tech Wonderland’ coming to PNE site a few weeks before Christmas

Best Buy Canada-backed ‘holiday’ event to raise money for charity

Aaliyah Rosa. File photo
Crown says murder of seven-year-old in Langley was planned, deliberate

The trial of KerryAnn Lewis began Monday in New Westminster

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. government photo)
Unnamed school in Fraser Health region closed due to COVID-19

Closure announced by Dr. Bonnie Henry during daily briefing

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

Most Read