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After sitting on the sidelines while provincial and corporate privateers attack public health care, the federal government is going to find itself on the hotseat in federal court. The legal challenge, filed in May, takes health minister Anne McLellan to task for failing to enforce the Canada Health Act.

CUPE, along with a coalition of other health care advocates, is arguing McLellans annual reports to Parliament dont provide proof that the provinces are meeting the Acts strict conditions. CUPE is asking the court to rule that the health minister isnt monitoring, investigating and enforcing CHA requirements that protect public health care from privatization.

The case could have far-reaching consequences for public health care. Some provinces are introducing privatization schemes that trample the CHAs five principles: public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability and accessibility. Forcing the federal government to uphold and enforce the Canada Health Act would cut off federal funds to privatization schemes, ensuring not a penny of health spending goes to profits.

Health minister McLellan got a warning from CUPE last fall, in a letter outlining the pending court challenge. However, as initiatives like this winters federal-provincial health accord show, the federal government continues to dodge its responsibility to ensure accountable public health care ignoring key recommendations from the Romanow report.

CUPEs case will include testimony from key health care experts. The other coalition partners bringing the case are the Council of Canadians, the Canadian Health Coalition, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union and the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.