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A new poll shows Canadians are all-too aware of the high costs of privatization. The poll also shows that where privatization is most advanced, opposition is greatest.

The EKOS Research survey, commissioned by CUPE, polled 1 014 Canadians randomly selected between January 12 and 29, 2001. A sample of this size yields a maximum error estimate of 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

  • In Alberta, 47 per cent of those polled said there was too much privatization a three to one margin over those who said there wasnt enough privatization. Ontario residents, also facing a barrage of privatization initiatives, opposed privatization in large numbers, with 40 per cent saying there was too much privatization.

  • Overall, only one in five Canadians thought there was too little privatization.

  • When asked about private universities, 73 per cent of respondents say the costs to students and families will increase, with more than half fearing costs will increase a lot. The largest group also worry that private universities will drain public funds, with 39 per cent saying costs to government will rise.

  • The growing need for quality public elder care and long-term care is reflected in calls for increased funding, with 75 per cent of Canadians calling for increased government investment 54 per cent calling for a major increase. Women are most adamant, with 61 per cent supporting a lot more funding.

  • Increased government regulation of long-term care is another major concern, with 58 per cent calling for stronger regulation of long-term care facilities.

  • Expanding public health care to cover home care and a national prescription drug program also ranks high with Canadians. More than three quarters think home care is highly important, and 70 per cent say the same about pharmacare.

  • Fully three-quarters support public control of water services, with a growing number calling for increased public funding for water infrastructure.

  • Canadians also feel strongly about the need for stronger regulation and enforcement when it comes to water quality, with 57 per cent calling for increased enforcement and 48 per cent calling for more regulation. Concern was highest in Ontario, where lax enforcement and regulation contributed to the Walkerton tragedy.

  • CUPEs poll also tested support for private highways. Here again Canadians fear a double whammy, with 65 per cent saying drivers will pay more, and 52 per cent saying costs to taxpayers will also rise.