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Make a difference this election

The federal election campaign ends October 14.  On all the issues important to Canadians and CUPE members, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have shown themselves to be disconnected.

Polls are showing more support for the NDP than we’ve seen in recent years.

But there’s still a lot at stake because the undecided vote is also quite high and – when they make up their minds – they will decide which party or parties will form the next government.

On Election Day, please volunteer with your local NDP campaign to help get the vote out.  But if you can’t do that, please take the time to vote.  The future is decided by those who show up!

Also check out CUPE’s election website for background on the issues in this election:

What to do about the financial crisis

The world’s financial markets are going through an incredible period of turmoil and crisis.  It is now widely acknowledged that this is the worst since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Many people have already seen steep declines in the value of their pensions and investments.  Private sector employers will face cutbacks, spending and employment and investment will decline in some areas and governments will face slowdowns or drops in their revenues.

Quite apart from huge bailouts of mismanaged companies, we need a way out.  This must include:

• Re-regulation of the financial industry to protect investments and pensions of ordinary Canadians;
• A pro-active response to the economic slowdown.  Governments should maintain and expand public services to both protect families and to help the economy avoid a deeper downturn; and
• Increased funding to rebuild our public infrastructure, with a focus on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and green investments; strategies to rebuild our industries, and investments in people.

The full statement is here:


New study shows private clinics spreading

A new study exposes the explosive growth of private, for-profit diagnostic, surgical and “boutique” physician clinics across Canada.

The study finds that the spread of private clinics has caused extensive violations of medicare rights, and heightened inequalities in access to health care among Canadians.

Some major findings:

• 130 for-profit surgical, MRI and corporate physician clinics across Canada;
• For-profit clinics exist in all provinces but Prince Edward Island;
• Extra-billing, user fees and queue-jumping have contributed to medicare rights violations.  Researchers found 89 suspected violations of the Canada Health Act; and
• For-profit clinics are siphoning doctors, nurses and other health care workers away from the public system.

The full study is here: http://www.web.net/ohc/

Most prefer child care to cheques: poll

A poll reveals Canadians prefer a national child care system to the Harper government’s $100 monthly cheque by a ratio of 2 to 1.

The Harper government established its “Universal Child Care Benefit” when they cancelled the Liberals’ plans for a national early childhood education and child care program.

Almost twice as many Canadians said that setting up the national early childhood education and child care program is preferable (58%) to a monthly allowance of $100.00 (31%).

Paul Moist pointed out that support for a child care system is significantly higher two years after the introduction of the monthly cheques.

Vancouver parks board wants more managers

Vancouver’s parks board has decided to replace 15 union workers with managers, despite an additional price tag of $250,000.

CUPE 15 President Paul Faoro says the move - in a closed session of the board - begs some questions.

Will we see further cuts to community centres and already-frozen budgets to pay for such a reckless move?” asks Faoro.  “It’s pretty clear we don’t need more managers; we need better services.”

Health Care Support Workers’ Week in Manitoba

Unions, provincial government officials, and employers were on hand to celebrate Health Care Support Workers’ Week in Winnipeg this week.

Most people know how much we matter to the health care system,” CUPE Health Care Coordinator for Manitoba Ms. Nicole Campbell said.  “But for some this is an opportunity to explain who we are and how important we are to the health of patients and the system.”

Western Library Conference delegates tackle OH&S, community profile, and love

Why do we always fall in love with librarians?”  A tough question from Western Library Conference invitee David Chariandy, the answer so obvious to all present it elicited only laughter.

Chariandy wrote most of his acclaimed first novel Soucouyant on the fourth floor of the Vancouver Public Library’s main branch.

Public space is dwindling, but public libraries remain a space where you can read, have a table, a source of electricity, a fountain for my water bottle, and - most important - the librarians themselves.  They’ve aided me in countless ways.  They’ve brought me materials I need, and shown a degree of expertise I didn’t even realize existed.”

Delegates to the conference also heard important presentations on health and safety, literacy, and community outreach.

For the full report, see: http://cupe.ca/news/Library-workers-voic

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