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British doctors urge cooperation on Canadian counterparts

A group of British doctors have urged their Canadian counterparts to heed their cautionary tale on the perils of privatization.

Dr. Jacky Davis and Dr. Peter Fisher, executive officers with Britain’s National Health Service Consultants Association have written a letter to Canadian Medical Association President Brian Day before the association’s meeting in Vancouver next week. The letter criticizes activity-based funding, the use of the private sector to deliver public health care, the so-called “patient choice” agenda and public-private partnerships.

The British Medical Association recently voted to oppose payment-by-results and has passed a unanimous resolution favouring collaboration over competition in health care.

Visit www.cupe.ca/healthcare/NHSCAletter.

Vancouver civic strike: two agreements and one smoking gun

CUPE 389 settled their contract with the City of North Vancouver and the North Vancouver City Library this week, while CUPE 391 came close. And all this took place as CUPE revealed the questionable role of a public relations consultancy in the one-month-old strike.

Details of the CUPE 389 agreements were being revealed only to local members, but union officials said the settlement followed the same pattern as the other 10 agreements reached in recent weeks.

This was not the case for an offer the Vancouver Library Board put to CUPE 391. While the local was pleased to be back at the table, local officials said they needed to see more on pay equity.

Information obtained by CUPE through an access to information request suggests the strike - now limited to Vancouver inside, outside and library workers - may have been caused by the involvement of public relations firm, the Wilcox Group.

For the full report see: www.cupe.ca/britishcolumbia/Wilcox_Group_reveale

Quality child care – make it the law

Parliament is scheduled to resume on Sept. 17, and with it comes a final vote on Bill C-303, the NDP’s Early Learning and Child Care Act.

The bill lays the foundation for a high-quality, universal and accountable child care system. It limits expansion of for-profit child care, a move that protects Canada from international trade disputes and ensures the highest quality care.

Visit www.cupe.ca/action/makec303law.

Premiers cool on trade, slow on environment

The premiers’ meeting last week in Moncton, N.B., showed the premiers lukewarm to the idea of TILMA, the trade deal being heavily promoted by British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell.

The provinces made only tiny steps on climate change, largely because Alberta and Newfoundland refused to entertain a cap and trade system being promoted by Manitoba.

Steps to fix school funding aimed at Ontario election

This week Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced changes to school board funding in response to CUPE pressure. But the move doesn’t go far enough and says more about the Liberals’ re-election strategy than their commitment to education.

Today’s announcement leaves parents, teachers, staff and students cold, even as the Liberal election machine heats up,” CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan said. “We must ensure that politicians of all stripes are held accountable for our kids’ real needs.”

Time to protest the SPP

This weekend, the leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico were to get a close look at the public they’ve been ignoring as they meet in Montebello, Que., to discuss the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).

The agreement, presented as an extension of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), would reshape the institutions of the three countries to increase the power and profits of multinationals. It would turn Canada into a great reservoir of water and petroleum, leaving us at the mercy of the U.S.

Monday will be a National Day of Action Against the SPP, including a peaceful demonstration at the site of the summit. There will be a series of actions across the country, with demonstrations and meetings.

For more information see: www.canadians.org/integratethis/summit/events.html.

FastFacts in your inbox!

Did you know you can get FastFacts by e-mail? To sign up for this service, please send an e-mail to clandry@cupe.ca. Make sure to include your name, Local number, e-mail address and province.

:jhm/cope 491