OTTAWA - Yesterday’s Throne Speech lays out a Conservative agenda that should ring alarm bells for Canadians from coast to coast to coast, says Canada’s largest union.
“The Throne Speech betrays working families and threatens health care,” said Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). “The real priorities of working people are being drowned in a rhetoric of “accountability” by a government that is pushing privatization, not prudence.”
The Throne Speech confirmed that the Conservatives are sticking to their so-called five priorities, including destroying the budding national child care program and calling for more privatization in health care. The Conservative vision also terminates the Canadian tradition of peacekeeping by boosting a more aggressive and militaristic foreign policy.
“The best way to foster more accountable government is to enhance, not diminish, public spending and public delivery in key social areas like child care and health care,” Moist said.
“On child care, the Conservatives have a bad plan and they’re sticking to it,” said Moist. “Prime Minister Harper’s plan to give businesses and community organizations tax credits to create child care spaces did not work in Ontario under Mike Harris and it won’t work now,” said Moist. “We need action from this government to build a real plan not just give parents a few bucks a day, and we need pressure from the opposition parties to push them in the right direction.”
On health care, Moist blasted the Throne Speech’s call for “innovative” ways to deliver health care. “When Conservatives say “innovative”, they mean privatization,” said Moist. “This means more public money lining the pockets of private corporations cashing in on the weakening of our public health care system. We will fight this tooth and nail.”
Moist said the Conservatives are using a “wait times guarantee” to open the door to for-profit health care, even though studies show that privatization leads to longer wait times, and that the real solutions to wait times will be found in the public system. .
The speech offered one silver lining, Moist added. The decision to apologize to the Chinese community for the racist head tax is welcome, and CUPE applauds the move.
CUPE’s 540,000 members provide public services in communities across the country, including health care, child care, municipal services and more.
Contact: Paul Moist, National President, (613) 558-2873; Claude Généreux, National Secretary-Treasurer (porte-parole francophone), (514) 884-5074; David Robbins, CUPE Communications, (613) 878-1431