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The Alberta government has tried to deflect opposition fueled by two CUPE-commissioned legal opinions on Bill 11 by releasing their own legal advice. But the spin the government has put on these opinions is not supported by the substance.

Alberta’s claim that Bill 11 has no NAFTA implications holds about as much water as their claim that Bill 11 outlaws private hospitals. Their legal opinions, by silence and omission, confirm some of our worst fears about Klein’s private hospital scheme, said National President Judy Darcy.

The province’s NAFTA opinion is a house of cards perched on a foundation that’s shaky at best, said Steven Shrybman, international trade lawyer and author of CUPE’s legal opinion on the NAFTA implications of Bill 11. In fact, their lawyer concedes that the keystone of their whole argument could be entirely wrong.

The NAFTA opinion challenges only two points raised by CUPE’s legal opinion, and fails to undermine even these. I can only conclude Ralph Klein couldn’t find a lawyer willing or able to refute the analysis we presented, said Terry Mutton, president of CUPE Alberta.

When you cut through the spin and hot air, Klein’s legal opinions provide no comfort. Far from reassuring Albertans and Canadians about the future of Medicare, these legal opinions are going to further galvanize the growing opposition to Bill 11, said Darcy.

A more detailed response to the Alberta legal opinion on NAFTA, as well as CUPE’s original legal opinions and supporting documents can be viewed at www.cupe.ca.

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