On January 23, 2000, CUPE leaders from across the country assembled in Ottawa to decide a course of action for the first phase of CUPE’s country-wide campaign to rebuild Canada’s public health care system.
CUPE already has a major campaign underway in Alberta to defeat Premier Klein’s proposed legislation allowing private hospitals to operate within the public health care system - and using public dollars to maximize profit.
However, a country-wide mobilization in support of public health care is also critical.
To complement the tremendous efforts by CUPE members in Alberta, it was agreed that the following key actions would be undertaken across the country between now and March 2000 in support of two key objectives:
- The defeat of Premier Klein’s proposed legislation allowing for private hospitals to operate within the public health care system in Alberta; and
- A major increase in federal funding for health care in this year’s (2000-2001) federal budget.
- Today: Spread the word of this campaign
This campaign is intended to engage as many CUPE members as possible. We need to involve CUPE members working in every jurisdiction, in every province.
Every CUPE mailing list, every CUPE fax list, every CUPE e-mail list, every CUPE network must be used to get word out about the campaign.
Copy the contents of today’s FastFACTS and distributed as far and wide as possible.
- As soon as possible: Dispatch “ambulances” to Alberta
Two CUPE ambulances, driven and staffed by CUPE members, will travel across the country on a “whistle-stop” tour intended to alert Canadians from coast to coast of the threat that Alberta’s legislation represents to public health care.
One ambulance will head for Alberta from the Atlantic coast, and one will start from the Pacific.
An ambulance tour coordinator in each province will be appointed to assist with the tour. All sectors within CUPE will be called on to support the tour and participate in local mobilizing efforts.
- February 3rd: Meeting of Provincial Premiers in Quebec City
Health care funding will be a major topic of discussion at this meeting. To encourage a strong statement by the Premiers in support of more federal money for health care in the next federal budget, we will do the following:
- CUPE Divisions and as many other CUPE groups as possible will immediately write to (and if possible meet with) their respective provincial Premier. (A sample letter will be faxed to CUPE Divisions and health care groups by January 25, 2000.)
- CUPE will work with the Canadian Health Coalition to organize a “welcome” for the Premiers in Quebec City.
- CUPE will use the opportunity of the Premiers’ meeting to draw attention to our demands, to meet with the media, etc.
- If possible, one of CUPE’s ambulances will be on hand to help “drive” our message home to the Premiers and the media.
- February 7th: Federal Parliament Resumes
CUPE will work with the Canadian Health Coalition to draw attention to the issue of health care on this day.
Again, CUPE’s ambulance could be helpful in getting attention on this day.
Also, the Canadian Health Coalition may be organizing events in other communities on this day. More information to come in next few days.
- Februrary 8th: Release of CUPE’s Second Annual Report on Privatization
The release of this report will be used to draw attention to who is pushing privatization of public services, including health care and make the case that public services are more effective, more accessible and better value.
- February 1st : Release of Alternative Federal Budget
CUPE leaders will be provided with advance copies of the Alternative Federal Budget and briefing notes so they are in a position to make the case for increased funding for health care in the next federal budget.
The release of the Alternative Budget may give CUPE leaders an opportunity to do media interviews on the topic of health care funding.
- February 14th: Official Public Launch of CUPE’s Health Care Campaign
- On this day, CUPE will hold a media event to announce our campaign, including February 29th as our Day of Action for Public Health Care.
- As well, on this day CUPE will have ready for distribution a national flyer, with a tear-off postcard or response form for people to send in. This flyer will explain the implications of the Alberta legislation for all Canadians and explain why private care is bad news for quality, accessible care. The tear off response form will call on the federal government (1) to take action against the Alberta legislation, and (2) to increase health care funding.
- Release of Legal Opinion on NAFTA Implications
CUPE has commissioned a legal opinion on the impact of the Alberta proposal under NAFTA. The document will be released to the media to increase pressure on the federal government to act and on the Alberta government to back off its plan.
- February 29th : Country-Wide Day of Action
“Dramatic” actions in our communities will be organized across the country targeted at the federal government. (Details of these actions will not be put in writing at this time. Stay tuned.)
In the coming weeks, after we have had an opportunity to gauge the impact of our efforts on the federal budget and Klein’s agenda, we will plan the next stage of the campaign. It is expected that Phase two will address the specific situation of health care in each of the provinces, pressing governments to take action.