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Over 60 CUPE members, government opposition leaders and concerned citizens crowded into a hotel meeting room in Summerside PEI on May 31 to launch the Public Works Best for Our Hospital campaign.

Spearheaded by CUPE 1779, representing health care workers in East Prince, the campaign is a response to the Conservative governments proposal to build a new East Prince Hospital through a public private partnership.

The press conference was a great kick off to the campaign, says Bill McKinnon, PEI Division President. The success of this launch sends a clear message to the Pat Binns government. Continue down this road of privatization and youre in for a bumpy ride.

Later in the day CUPE members attended the Prince County Hospital Foundation annual meeting, raising concerns about PPPs with hospital board officials. According to McKinnon, the hospital officials were overwhelmed by the size of the crowd and refused to take questions from the public.

The Conservative government will decide whether to go ahead with the PPP this month. If the government does move forward, it will issue a request for proposals in August and select the successful bid in January 2000.

But CUPE refuses to sit idly by and watch events unfold. The Division has requested a meeting with the Premier to dissuade the government from going ahead with the PPP arrangement. As well, CUPE is building a coalition with other concerned groups, looking at ways to raise public awareness of the PPP threat, including an anti-PPP float at summer festivals on the Island.