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The federal government can fix it for a generation or damage it forever

OTTAWA The federal government can either fix health care for a generation or invite more corporate tricks, said CUPE National President Paul Moist at the end of Day 2 of the first ministers conference on health care.

Paul Martin must guarantee that federal funding goes exclusively to public, non-profit delivery or the health care fix for a generation will be corporate tricks for a generation, Moist said.

Haggling over funding dominated the second day of the televised meeting, but the question of how that money will be spent was hardly mentioned, CUPE National President Paul Moist said.

While they were haggling, three Montreal doctors opted out of medicare and announced they will start Quebecs first private emergency clinic, he said. If we dont back public delivery of health care now, the federal government will stuff billions of tax dollars into corporate pockets.

Public delivery is absolutely necessary to lower waiting lists and increased confidence in the public system, CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Gnreux added. For-profit health care delivers less and costs more.

The word privatization seems to have disappeared from the first ministers vocabulary, but it hasnt vanished from their policy books, Gnreux said. Privatization continues to undermine the very fabric of the Canadian health care system.

CUPE encouraged the first ministers to seriously discuss the expansion of public health care and to reject private, for-profit delivery, following the example of Manitoba Premier Gary Doer.

Yesterday, Doer reported on his provinces experiment with for-profit home care. It resulted in the program being brought back into the public sector. He also raised issues about the real costs of pharmacare, such as trade deals and patent protection laws.

CUPE represents 140,000 workers in the health care sector. They play a crucial role in delivering quality, public health care to Canadians. With over 500,000 members, CUPE is fighting for public services and rebuilding strong communities across Canada.


Catherine Louli, cell (613) 851-0547, CUPE Communications
David Robbins, cell (613) 878-1431, CUPE Communications