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CUPEs ambulance tour to save Medicare has been generating a great deal of interest and public support wherever its gone.

Since the tour was launched two weeks ago, one ambulance has travelled through Nfld, Nova Scotia and PEI and its now on its way through New Brunswick, soon to arrive in Quebec. Another began in Ontario, combed Manitoba and is now in Saskatchewan, while the third began in BC and has already reached Alberta.

In communities large and small, the ambulances emblazoned with credit cards, slogans and flags have been warmly greeted by CUPE members, seniors and local residents. Through visits to hospitals, town halls and shopping malls, the ambulance crews have been raising awareness and collecting an every larger number of postcards to Allan Rock demanding action to strengthen Medicare.

Participating in the first leg of the Atlantic tour, Wayne Lucas, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador division, delivered the key message of the tour. “For-profit health care is a hazard,” he said. “It means even longer waiting times, higher costs and a two-tier system one system for the rich and the other for everyone else.

Media coverage has been excellent. Marlene Tartsch, a member of CUPE 1629 and the Manitoba Provincial Health Care Council, “was pumped at the sight of all this excitement” as reporters swarmed the ambulance during a visit to Lloyd Axworthys constituency office in Winnipeg.

But its in the smaller communities that the reception has been greatest. In BC, two members from HEU and a paramedic from CUPE 873 travelled to several communities in the interior before handing over the ambulance to the Alberta crew in Dawson Creek. “Its been refreshing to get out from under the big city media and have our message heard in communities across BC,” they report. “It’s been a great experience. People really do care about Medicare.”

For more information about the ambulance tour, including daily reports from the ambulance crews, check out CUPEs web site at www.cupe.ca.