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As a result of recent events in Alberta, the National Executive Committee of CUPE has decided to launch a nation-wide mobilization to protect medicare. The campaign will target the federal government, demanding immediate action to stop the threat of private hospitals and increase funding for public health care.

As well, it will put pressure on provincial governments across the country to stop the erosion of our health care system.

The latest crisis in health care was prompted by last weeks announcement by Alberta premier Ralph Klein that he would allow regional health authorities to contract with private hospitals for medical services.

Within days, the National Executive Committee had met to approve a national initiative to stop the Alberta plan, increase health care funding and strengthen Canadas medicare system.

Details of the campaign will be decided by the National Executive Board after consultation with health care coordinators across the country. A major component of the campaign will concentrate on mobilizing members and the public within Alberta, but action is clearly needed from coast to coast.

CUPE has demanded a meeting with federal health minister Allan Rock. As well, in CUPEs presentation to the House of Commons Finance committee on the year 2000 federal budget, we stressed the need to commit funds from the federal surplus to strengthen medicare. Further actions will target MPs, premiers and members of provincial legislatures.

WHAT TO DO

Over the coming days and weeks, well be providing materials and tools to help you put pressure on the federal and provincial governments to defend medicare.

But here are some things you can do today:

-Contact your MP and demand federal action

-Write the federal health minister Allan Rock

-Fax your MP, through CUPEs web site

-Contact your member of the provincial legislature

-Write a letter to the editor

-Phone in to a local hotline show

-Talk to your co-workers, family and friends