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With the premiers meeting in Vancouver this week, a new health minister named in last weeks federal cabinet shuffle and the first report from the Romanow commission expected next week, theres lots happening on the health front.

National President Judy Darcy and CUPE Manitoba president Paul Moist met with Manitoba premier Gary Doer and the provinces health minister Dave Chomiak this past week, encouraging them to resist Alberta premier Ralph Kleins privatization agenda and to speak out strongly in defence of public health care.

CUPE supports the Manitoba premiers call for $1 billion in bridge funding from the federal government to help address the pressures on the health care system while awaiting the report of the Romanow commission.

As well, CUPE has been in touch with Saskatchewan premier Lorne Calvert and has written the new health minister Anne McLellan seeking an early meeting.

One issue on which CUPE is taking the lead is the threat of privately built, owned and operated hospitals. CUPE has invited Allyson Pollock, a leading expert from Britain, to brief the Romanow commission on the dismal British experience of P3 hospitals.

During her visit to Canada shell travel to Toronto and Vancouver, speaking with the media and helping counter the drive by the BC and Ontario governments to create P3 hospitals in those provinces.