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Toronto—Confronted by dozens of paramedics protesting mandatory flu vaccines who chanted “my body, my choice”, Health Minister Tony Clement fled his own media event, where he was scheduled to release a health care survey that cost the government

$3.8 million.

For the past month, paramedics with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) have asked to meet with the health minister to discuss the potential crisis in emergency services, as employers follow through on suspensions for paramedics who are not complying with a legislated flu inoculation. Despite repeated attempts to engage the minister, the paramedics have been rebuffed.

Today was no different. Instead of speaking directly with the paramedics, the minister turned on his heels and fled. His lack of leadership on this issue is causing confusion in the health care sector and is compromising emergency services province-wide,” says Sid Ryan the Ontario president of CUPE.

George Barron, a Peterborough paramedic who came to Toronto to speak with Clement directly, says he is furious that the minister is too busy with own leadership race to deal with the unfair suspension of paramedics.

In Peterborough, services are now compromised because as of today, more than 20 per cent of the paramedic compliment has been suspended. I am one of the few area paramedics who can do advanced life support,” says Barron and “there is only one advanced medic on each shift in Peterborough. So despite what the County is saying, services here are diminished and it’s the employer who has put the community at risk.”

Barron and the Peterborough paramedics are hoping to make a deputation to Peterborough Council meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m.

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For more information please contact:
Sid Ryan, President CUPE Ontario
(416) 209-0066
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications
(416) 578-8774