Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

City threatens legal action over union's attack ad

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The City of Winnipeg has threatened to take legal action against its largest union if it does not immediately stop airing a "false and defamatory" attack ad.

This morning, the City of Winnipeg sent a letter to Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 500 to ask that they immediately stop airing the 30-second ad titled For Sale and "retract the false information." If the union does not comply, the city says it will consider any and all legal action available, including an action for defamation.

The ad features animation that shows the letters of Winnipeg getting chopped up, sucked into a vacuum and sent down a drain. The ad alleges Katz and city council are selling off infrastructure, "want to privatize parks, golf courses and arenas and have sold garbage collection to private companies headquartered in Ontario and the U.S." It erroneously maintains "the city handed management of our water to a company in France." The latter claim appears to be a reference to the city’s sewage-treatment consulting contract with Veolia Canada.

The ad also describes a proposed swap of land below a new fire-paramedic station for three pieces of city property as a council attempt to "sell fire halls to their friends."

The attack ad launched Oct. 31, and CUPE 500's website says the ad will continue to air through November.

CUPE 500 has been contacted for comment.

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