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OTTAWA CUPE National President Judy Darcy met with BC premier Ujal Dosanj this morning as the premier prepares for the first ministers meeting Monday. Premier Dosanj has been clear the provinces must work together to stop health care privatization, to preserve and strengthen the Canadian health care system.

We are pleased the premier is in agreement with CUPE about the threat to health care of creeping privatization. An agreement tomorrow to restore health care funding is crucial to putting the public system back on a strong footing so that we can move ahead on progressive reforms, said Darcy. But money is just the beginning.

Darcy presented the premier with an outline of CUPEs vision for health care reform in the 21st century. The document is based on the knowledge and experience of the 150,000 front-line health care workers CUPE represents.

We are looking for a recognition from the first ministers tomorrow that their work is not yet done. We hear the complaints and see the problems first hand. We need to ensure the restored funding is invested where it can do the greatest good. We need to strengthen front-line health care, reforming primary care so patients get access to care when and where they need it. And we need to expand Medicare to cover home care and prescription drugs, she added.

For-profit medicine only puts money into the pockets of corporations and threatens equal access for all Canadians. Canadians want high quality public health care and they want to be able to hold their governments accountable to deliver these services, she said.

Canadians are looking for leadership from governments. We are calling on the premiers to take up the challenge to save our public health care system, Darcy said.

CUPE, Canadas largest union, represents 485,000 women and men working in health care, emergency services, education, municipalities, social services, libraries, utilities, transportation and airlines. For background on CUPEs national campaign to save Medicare visit www.cupe.ca

For information: Pam Beattie (613) 761-8796 (cellular)

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