Alberta premier Ralph Klein pushed through Bill 11 in May, allowing regional health authorities to contract with private hospitals to provide health services and allowing these clinics to extra bill for enhanced
But CUPE has kept up its efforts of stop the bill, demanding the federal government take decisive action to prevent its implementation. At the same time, CUPE has stepped up its campaign to increase funding for medicare and promote a reform package that excludes for-profit services.
While Kleins bully tactics forced approval of the bill, its clear that CUPEs campaign bested him at every turn. We had the facts, we had the edge and we had the support of Albertans.
The more Albertans knew about Bill 11, the less they liked it, said CUPE Alberta president Terry Mutton. And CUPE played a key role in jump-starting the opposition to the bill.
From the outset, Klein was on the defensive. Caught off guard by CUPEs TV ads showing the implosion of the Bow Valley hospital, he railed against US-style fear mongering. Stung by CUPEs postcard showing an Alberta health card morphing into a credit card, the premier rushed to reassure Albertans that all theyd ever need was their health card. Ambushed by CUPEs legal opinions and research, he grew increasingly flustered, commissioning contrary evidence that couldnt stand up to scrutiny.
Were all the more determined, said National President Judy Darcy, after the bill was rammed through. Were going to mount increasing pressure on Chrt0069en and Martin and Rock and their provincial counterparts and were not going to let up until Medicare is properly funded and weve put an end to the privatization of health care.
One element in CUPEs fightback: a nation-wide protest by health care workers, including nurses and workers from other unions, taking place on June 14.