Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

December 14, 2016 17:03 ET

Correcting the record in an emotional difference of opinion over the sale of PDI

PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 14, 2016) - Emotions have been running high since city council vote to support the sale of PDI at the committee of the whole, last week, in a vote that passed 6 to 5, despite the fact that more than 90 percent of Peterborough voters oppose the sale.

"People are feeling betrayed because the Mayor and five councillors have flat out ignored their constituents," says Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Ontario and vocal opponent of the sale. "People are feeling particularly betrayed by Councillor Parnell because she had repeatedly committed to many, up until very recently, that she would not support the sale."

In hopes that Councillor Parnell might reconsider her position prior to the final vote tomorrow, CUPE provided funding to the Keep Hydro Public Coalition to fund a call through of residents in the councillor's ward encouraging them to let her know how they wanted her to vote.

The script stated:

Hello, this is the Keep Hydro Public Coalition calling with an important message about the sale of our electricity provider. We can be reached by email at info@keephydropublic.ca.
On Wednesday night, your councillor, Lesley Parnell, voted to recommend the sale of PDI at the Committee of the Whole, despite the fact that 90 percent of people in Peterborough are against it. The motion passed by only one vote.
On December 15th Council will make its final decision on whether or not to sell PDI to Hydro One. Council was elected to represent the people of Peterborough not Hydro One executives. If we are going to succeed at stopping the sale of PDI, it is critical that Lesley hear from you.
Please press one, now, and we will transfer you to her office. Your help in saving PDI is truly appreciated by all of us.

Those that chose to press one were routed to the contact numbers that were provided for her constituents to call on her council website.

"When we were asked to fund the calls, we had hoped she would hear from several constituents and that she would realize that her voters wanted her to reconsider her vote," says Rennick. "We were completely shocked when we were provided with the report back from the calls that showed 1636 people chose to press one.

"I completely understand why Councillor Parnell felt overwhelmed by the number of constituents who have tried to contact her, but I want to be very clear that contrary to what she is saying, she was definitely not targeted because she is a woman and at no time did CUPE engage in telling callers what to say.

"Unfortunately, instead of appreciating that it was the frustration of the community that led to so many calls, Councillor Parnell chose to publicly blame a City of Peterborough employee who had no involvement in the decision to fund the call through.

"We still hope that council will reconsider before tomorrow's vote and save PDI as the people of Peterborough have made clear they want."

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