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 OTTAWA – Alberta Premier Ralph Klein has thrown down the gauntlet on private health care and it is up to federal Health Minister Tony Clement to pick it up and ensure that the Canada Health Act is not violated, says Canada’s largest health care union.

 “Klein’s Third Way is actually the opening up of our public health care system to for-profit private interests,” CUPE national president Paul Moist said.  “Privatization will only grow if this is allowed to go through.” 

It’s time for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Clement to show us where they stand on public health care,” Moist added. “Are they with the people or with those who would profit from the private sale of health care?” 

CUPE strongly advocates upholding the Canada Health Act. That means saying no to Alberta’s so-called third way. It means speaking out against private health insurance.  

Research shows that public sector funding and delivery is the most cost effective way to provide health care, Moist said. It is also the best way to ensure equal access. And private funding actually increases waiting lists. 

Allowing doctors to practice in the public and private systems, as proposed by Klein, siphons resources away from the public system.  That puts doctors in a conflict of interest – not treating patients in the public system means that patients get sent to the private system, where the same doctor can make a personal profit treating them.   

Research shows that private clinics take the most profitable cases for treatment, the ones they can treat the fastest for the most money.  This means that more difficult cases remain in the public system, creating a false comparison between the two systems.

 “Harper and Clement – and the premiers – need to take a serious look at the consequences before handing off our most cherished social program to for-profit interests,” Moist said.

 CUPE will be campaigning against the proposed Alberta legislation Klein promised to table in April.


Paul Moist, National President, (613) 558-2873;
Claude Généreux, National Secretary-Treasurer (porte-parole francophone), (514) 884-5074; Barry Doyle, CUPE Communications, (613) 294-9424.