REGINA, SK. – The Canadian Union of Public Employees praised federal NDP Leader Jack Layton’s promise today to defend Canada’s public health care system with the introduction of tough new measures.
“For several years our public health care system has been undermined by the federal Liberal government, on the one hand, and right-wing provincial premiers like Ralph Klein, Gordon Campbell and Jean Charest, on the other,” said Tom Graham, president of CUPE Saskatchewan and a member of the union’s national executive board.
“Now, more than ever, we need politicians who will stand up and refuse to allow the dismantling of our single-payer medicare system,” Graham added as he prepared to join Layton for today’s policy announcement. “The federal NDP’s promise to crack down on health care privatization will go a long way towards protecting our public health care system.”
Graham praised Layton’s promise to prohibit the use of federal transfers to subsidize a new profit-making private insurance system covering medically necessary services and to ensure that no public money be used to cover the salaries of doctors or other medical personnel involved in such a system.
“We need to strengthen the Canada Health Act to ensure that public dollars are used to meet the needs of Canadians, instead of lining the pockets of large corporations,” he said.
Graham said the Conservative Party has talked a lot about maintaining a publicly funded health care system, but noted they have never promised to prevent the further privatization of the health care system.
“Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has supported the private delivery of health care in the past, even though studies have consistently shown that for-profit health care costs much more and offers lower quality service.”
CUPE represents 26,000 public sector workers in Saskatchewan, including over 12,000 health care providers, and more than 140,000 health care workers across Canada.
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