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Saying that Ralph Klein has no mandate to dismantle the public health system, CUPE Alberta has challenged the Premier to call an election on the issue. CUPE says if the Premier is so sure that Albertans want private health care, let him put his government on the line.

“Finally the Premier is out in the open on private medicine,” said Terry Mutton, CUPE Alberta president.

“The idea that private clinics can help reduce waiting lines is a phony argument and Klein knows it. As Alan Rock pointed out recently, the lure of big dollars will force the best and brightest into private health care. And once the public system cant do the work, private health clinics will raise their

prices until we cant afford a public system anymore.”

CUPE points out that this is precisely what has happened in the U.S. As private health care corporations have tightened their grip on the U.S. system, costs have spiralled out of control and left some 44 million people with no insurance at all. Yet Americans still pay some 85 per cent more than Canadians on a per capita basis for health care.

“If Klein is so sure Albertans want this type of health care, let him call an election right now on this issue,” said Mutton. “Lets see what the electorate will do.”