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Ferris wheels and sports teams will not make this a world class city

This letter was submitted to Mayor Rob Ford and the members of the Executive Committee by Local 79 President Ann Dembinski about the flawed direction the Mayor is taking the City.

Mayor Ford, Chair
And Members, Executive Committee

Re: Core Service Reviews – Program Reviews

On behalf of CUPE Local 79’s more than 18,000 members – proud union members and proud workers – I would like to speak to the Mayor and the Executive Committee about listening, really listening, to all the people in this great city of ours.

All the way through the hopelessly flawed process of the Core Service Review, citizens from every Ward in the City have told you not to cut services that they need.

You cannot ignore what the people said at the City’s own consultations. They said loud and clear that they value public services and are willing to pay more tax, if necessary, to keep them. The public has spoken in every Ward of the City and said NO to the Mayor’s cuts to services.

You cannot vote in favour of these harmful cuts to child care, long-term care and public health. You have no mandate to do this.

On the campaign trail to get elected as Mayor you promised a minor tax increase and no cuts to services, – ‘guaranteed’. You then proceeded to: cut City revenues by cancelling the Vehicle Registration Tax and freezing taxes, use up the budget surplus you inherited, dip into the City’s reserve funds and spend millions hiring outside consultants specifically to cut services.

Ferris wheels and sports teams will not make this a world class city. People want to live in a city that takes care of its people.

Local 79 wishes to remind everyone that Toronto is such a liveable, world class city for residents, newcomers, visitors, and, national and international businesses because of front-line City workers. They are there every day to provide programs and services – like our renowned child care system, public health, parks & recreation, long-term care homes, EMS, nurses, cleaners, planners, inspectors, social services and shelters, to name just a few.

Also on the agenda for the Executive Committee is a recommendation to give the City Manager authority to implement cuts to services without bringing each proposed cut to Council. Recommendation 16 asks council to give the City Manager sole authority to negotiate agreements, draft by-laws and deal with labour implications across-the-board on the City’s services. If this recommendation passes then the plan to reduce child care spaces may be before council for the last time. It will be the last chance Councillors will hear about these threatened child care spaces. Don’t let this happen. It’s ultimately you, as Councillors, who will have to take the responsibility for the cuts.

Consultations and market research has shown that the policies and actions of this administration are way off base. Your planned service cuts have no support.

As politicians you were elected to represent the views of your constituents. You cannot justify voting for these far-reaching and damaging cuts. As Councillors you must not ignore the constituents in your Ward. It’s time to listen.

Yours truly,

Ann Dembinski
President

 

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