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SASKATOON (September 18) 004100730020provincial health ministers met in Regina, the National President of Canada’s largest union called for urgent action to protect Canada’s health care system.

“Here in the birthplace of Medicare, the talks are leading to its death by a million cuts,” said Judy Darcy, National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

“The ministers want to set up a tribunal to decide whether private hospitals and user fees and delisting services violate the spirit of the Canada Health Act,” said Darcy. “In our view that’s putting the fox in charge of the hen house. I don’t want Ralph Klein’s appointees to set our national standards.”

“Anyone who has been in hospital or has had a family member in hospital knows that our health care system is being starved to death,” said Darcy. “Services are being rationed and staff levels have been cut to the point that the health and dignity of patients are suffering.”

“Every day more of our health care system is being turned over to companies who see health as an industry to be run for profit,” Darcy added. “At the local level, we see corporations making money from our hospitals by cutting staff and services and we see huge profits being made from the ill and the elderly in nursing homes and home care. At the federal level we see the dismantling of the Health Protection Branch, creating a field day for the corporations and a time bomb for our health and our health system.”

Objecting to the behind door discussions about the future of health care, Darcy called for a National Summit on Health Care so that Canadians can ensure that national standards aren’t being sacrificed to narrow provincial interests.

“We are calling on the federal and provincial health ministers to take urgent action to protect and expand our public health care system, assuring adequate funding and public delivery of essential services including home care and pharmacare,” Darcy concluded.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest health care union with 140,000 health care workers among its 460,000 members.

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