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UPDATE: Referendum on P3 in Abbotsford takes place tomorrow

A CUPE media release issued yesterday states, “City of Abbotsford residents have serious concerns about the Stave Lake P3 deal. That’s the message from the latest Angus Reid poll on the scheme. Two-thirds of respondents in the City ordered poll are concerned about the ‘role of private businesses’ (68 per cent) and the ‘secretive process’ (67 per cent) in this P3 deal. Concern over private business involvement is up 10 points from the last poll in August. …The poll (also) found less than half of the respondents (46 per cent) believe that the City has ‘provided all of the facts’ to the public.”

But tomorrow’s vote is expected to be close. On October 21, the Abbotsford Times reported, “In a recent telephone survey of registered voters commissioned by the city, respondents were split as to whether they would vote in favour of the project. Forty-five per cent of those questioned would vote for the plan while 30 per cent said they were opposed.”

And the stakes are very high. In a Financial Post op-ed this week, Environment Probe’s executive director Elizabeth Brubaker writes, “CUPE (is) campaigning on the slogan ‘Water for life, not for profit’… And of course Maude Barlow is campaigning for ‘precious’ public water. …If voters can see through CUPE’s ill-informed and self-interested opposition, they will approve the Stave Lake project. Abbotsford’s demonstration that the private sector can help municipalities finance and operate water systems will then help pave the way for P3s elsewhere in Canada.”

The Council of Canadians fights the P3 proposal in Abbotsford
Nov. 18 – Chairperson Maude Barlow sends a telephone message on the eve of the vote to all our members in Abbotsford encouraging them to vote ‘no’ in the referendum.
Nov. 17 – We send a media release to all media outlets in Abbotsford, http://canadians.org/media/water/2011/18-Nov-11.html; that release is posted on Abbotsford Today and widely distributed through social media.
Nov. 5 – We issue an action alert calling on Abbotsford (and people who know people in Abbotsford) to take action against the proposed P3, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=11761.
Oct. 28 – Barlow responds to Abbotsford MP Ed Fast’s comments; he says her comments on the P3 and CETA are “hogwash”, http://www.abbynews.com/news/132656593.html.
Oct. 26 – Water campaigner Emma Lui blogs on the P3 referendum and what people can do to defeat the proposal, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=11487.
Oct. 12 – Barlow speaks in Abbotsford in opposition to the P3, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=11073 and http://www.abbynews.com/news/131521108.html.
April 4 – Organizing assistant Ava Waxman was at the city council vote in Mission that rejected a joint Abbotsford-Mission P3 proposal for Stave Lake, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=6367.

For numerous Council of Canadians blogs on the P3 danger in Abbotsford, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?s=abbotsford.