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Canada’s largest union says Paul Martin’s budget falls far short of what is required to restore the health of Canada’s Medicare system.

“It looks like a big drop until you see the size of the bucket,” said Judy Darcy, National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. “The $11.5 billion in funding for health care promised over the next five years won’t begin to repair the damage done by much deeper cuts to health care since 1995.

“Canadian are getting older but Paul Martin isn’t getting any wiser,” said Darcy. “Within five years, funding levels will return to the point they were five years ago. But where’s the increase for inflation, for population growth and to cope with the fact that Canadians are aging?

“Home care has been ignored yet patients are being discharged from hospitals quicker and sicker,” said Darcy. “Without a proper system of public home care and long term care, the whole system backs up into the emergency room.”

Commenting on other aspects of the budget, Darcy said: “It’s so full of holes it reminds me of Swiss cheese. Nothing for the unemployed, nothing for the homeless, nothing for education, nothing for our water systems and nothing for child care.”

“The finance minister has turned his back on federal promises to reduce poverty and ensure Canada’s children receive the care they require. Meanwhile the Canadian Infrastructure Program which provides federal funding to municipal water treatment and roads has been abandoned yet there is an urgent need to reinvest in basic public services.” said Darcy.

CUPE represents 460,000 women and men who work on the front lines in health care, schools, universities and colleges, municipalities, utilities, transportation, social services, child care, libraries and emergency services.

For more information contact Robert Fox at (613) 795-4977