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The federal commission on the future of health care began its public hearings last week and CUPE was front and centre. In Regina and Winnipeg, CUPE leaders made strong presentations to Commissioner Roy Romanow, calling for an end to for-profit health care and reforms to strengthen and expand Medicare.

In Regina, Steven Foley, president of the CUPE Health Care Council, told the commission, We must embrace the values of equality, justice and compassion that Canadians hold dearly and take Medicare forward so that it is more comprehensive, more equitable and compassionate.

In Winnipeg, CUPE Manitoba President Paul Moist, pointed to home care, the Manitoba governments purchase of the Pan Am Clinic, and community, publicly-run health clinics as evidence that public works.

And he told Romanow that a recent CUPE poll shows Canadians support an expanded public health care system over increased privatization by a margin of three to one.

Speaking at a public meeting that same evening in Winnipeg, National President Judy Darcy warned, There is a demolition derby underway in this country led by several right wing premiers, but with multinational health care corporations waiting in the wings.

While commissioner Romanow is still drawing up a menu of options, Premiers Klein, Campbell and Harris are trying to set the table and serve up the main course, telling Canadians that private health care is the only menu we can afford, said Darcy. No Premier, no privatizer in this country has that right. Its the people of Canada who must decide Medicares future.

The Romanow commission is holding 18 public hearings across the country, meeting this week in Vancouver and Victoria.