VANCOUVER – Canada’s largest union is pledging to throw up massive roadblocks to stop private hospitals in Canada – and the battle’s already begun in British Columbia.
More than 2,000 delegates to the national convention of the Canadian Union of Public Employees unanimously passed an emergency resolution condemning the BC government’s plan to build Canada’s first private hospital in Abbotsford, resolving the privately-financed and owned facility will never see the light of day.
“This private hospital would be just the launching pad the corporations need for an all-out assault on public health care across this country. We simply won’t stand for this brazen attack on Medicare. We’ll do whatever it takes to stop for-profit health care corporations from getting a toehold to trample the Canada Health Act,” said CUPE National President Judy Darcy.
CUPE’s BC health services division helped expose the private hospital a month ago, and the community outrage has been building ever since. That outrage went national with yesterday’s resolution.
“As front line workers we know all too well what happens when corporations seek to profit from illness and pain. Care is compromised, taxpayers are fleeced and the corporations laugh all the way to the bank. Together with our community partners, we’ve stopped one private hospital in its tracks in Prince Edward Island, and we’re just as ready to take the privateers on at this end of the country,” said Darcy.
The BC government plan parrots a British private hospital initiative that has been a dismal failure. UK private hospitals have been a financial nightmare, providing substandard care while rewarding shareholders with massive profits. CUPE has developed a concrete plan to expand and improve public health care, preventing any health care privatization.
“We’ve presented our plan for reform to the federal health minister, but despite the serious threats in Alberta and this latest health emergency, Allan Rock’s asleep at the switch. We need the health minister to show some leadership and start protecting our precious health care system from trade deals and privateers,” added Darcy.
“The vast majority of Canadians have said quite clearly: ‘Hands off our health care.’ Together with our allies in the community, CUPE members will ensure Gordon Campbell, the federal government and their corporate cronies get that message loud and clear.”
CUPE represents a half-million members in health care, education, municipalities, social services, libraries, utilities, transportation, airlines and emergency services, including 180,000 health care workers. For background on the problems with private hospitals, visit heu.org and cupe.ca.
For further information, contact:
Robert Fox, CUPE Communications