Media releases | October 16, 2012

EDMONTON—Public Interest Alberta, the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 30, and the Amalgamated Transit Union 569, challenged Edmonton City Council today on a secret decision to run the Southeast LRT privately.City Council made this decision at an in camera meeting on August 29, 2012. Many sources have confirmed that City Council made this decision under pressure from the federal government, in order to qualify for federal infrastructure funding.On August 29, 2012, City Council met in camera, and voted to change their application for funding from the federal governmentâ��s P3 Canada Fund to include the privatization of all operations. Numerous sources have confirmed that the Federal Government made it clear that it would not give federal infrastructure funding to the project unless City Council agreed to the full privatization of the Southeast LRT. City Council overturned an earlier 7 â�� 6 decision not to turn over the operation of the LRT to a private company, separate from Edmonton Transit Services.â��We are shocked that City Council made such an important decision without public discussion, behind closed doors, and overturning a previous decision that was made in publicâ��, says Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta.â��I canâ��t imagine what legitimate justification City Council would have for having made this critical decision in cameraâ��.â��Other cities like Vancouver, Ottawa and Waterloo have received federal funding to expand their public LRT systems without having to privatize the operations, so I donâ��t know why Council felt it should gamble our success on Profit corporation running the Southeast LRT line,â�� said Stu Litwinowich, President of Amalgamated Transit Union local 569. â��Privatizing the new LRT operations would be bad for the City and bad for the citizens of Edmonton!â��â��The federal government should not be forcing Edmonton City Council to turn over operations of the SE LRT to a private company by dangling a $300 million carrot (paid with our tax dollars) in front of them,â�� said Mike Scott, President of CUPE Local 30. . â��A recent report issued by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities about the perils of P3 agreements proves that many of these deals across this country are failing. And when they fail, it ends up costing us all far more in the long run.â��We are calling on the Citizens of Edmonton to send a strong message to City Council that it does not make sense to turn over LRT operations to the private sector and that they need to hold a public consultation before making the decisions to privatize public transit.Send a message to City Council, or Mayor Mandel.-30-Media Contacts:Bill Moore-Kilgannon: 780 993-3736Stu Litwinowich: 780 426-6136Mike Scott: 780 293-9621