(OTTAWA) A new legal opinion confirms what health care advocates have been warning for months: Ralph Kleins Bill 11 will be the death of Medicare, under NAFTA. “We have solid evidence the federal Liberals should listen to before its too late,” said Judy Darcy, National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
Darcy today released a CUPE-commissioned legal opinion by Canadian trade expert Steven Shrybman concerning Bill 11, Albertas “Health Protection Act” and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The opinion outlines the dire consequences of Bill 11 becoming law.
“Our legal opinion makes it clear that Kleins proposed legislation will pave the way for the Amercanization and ultimate destruction of Medicare. Bill 11 doesnt just kick open the NAFTA door it kicks it right off its hinges,” Darcy added.
The legal opinion explains that once US corporations gain entry to Albertas health care system through Bill 11, it will be virtually impossible to stop or reverse a foreign private takeover of our health care system not just in Alberta but across the country. Under the NAFTA, every step down the road to private health care is a step closer to the point of no return.
“The federal government has a responsibility to all Canadians to protect Medicare,” said Darcy. “Ralph Klein calls Bill 11 an experiment, but under NAFTA there is no such thing as experiments only precedents.”
CUPE is calling on Allan Rock and the federal Liberals to intervene immediately to make Bill 11 illegal.
“This is not just an Alberta issue,” said Darcy. “NAFTA makes Bill 11 a trade issue and a federal issue that will affect every Canadian. Unless they move fast, the Chretien Liberals could well go down in history as the party that killed Medicare.
“Canadians do not want American style health care. Not now. Not ever. Poll after poll clearly shows Canadians value their public health system. What we really need now is strong leadership from the Chretien Liberals,” concluded Darcy.
CUPE, Canadas largest union, represents 480,000 women and men working in health care, emergency services, education, municipalities, social services, libraries, utilities, transportation and airlines, including 150,000 health care workers.
The legal opinion and supporting documents can be viewed at www.cupe.ca/shrybman. Or use the links below:
- Executive Summary
- NAFTA and Alberta’s Bill 11: Two cautionary tales
- Download the legal opinion in Adobe Acrobat format
- Alberta’s Private Health Care Plan violates Canada Health Act
Catherine Louli (613) 237-1590, ext. 268 or (613) 851-0547 cellular