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OTTAWA The federal government has betrayed all Canadians today by announcing they must wait for the implementation of private, two-tier health care in Alberta in order to take action against it.

“We have a legal opinion that says clearly the government does not have to wait. They can impose sanctions on the Alberta government now because Bill 11 will allow the creation of two-tier health care. This Bill is clearly a violation of the Canada Health Act and this Liberal government could go down in history as the government that killed Medicare unless they take decisive action immediately,” said CUPE National President Judy Darcy.

“We are calling on the government to change its decision. The view that their hands are tied until Bill 11 is implemented is wrong. Our legal advice is clear: they have both the power and the responsibility to act now because two-tier health care is the inevitable outcome of Albertas Bill 11,” said Darcy.

The governments weak statement today on Bill 11 ignores dangers the Liberals themselves acknowledged months ago, including threats posed by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and violations of the Canada Health Act.

“The Liberals have done an incredible about-face on Medicare one thats a slap in the face for all Canadians. Allan Rock is saying he must wait for the implementation of private health care in order to act. Yet, he has yet to produce a shred of legal advice that supports his position,” said Darcy.

Darcy has repeatedly called on Rock to respond to two damning legal opinions of Bill 11 CUPE released months ago. He has not responded.

The Liberals inaction means the privatization virus is in danger of spreading unchecked across the country, devouring public health care as it goes.

“Putting more money into enforcement is meaningless unless the Liberals take a tough stand on whats going to be enforced. Todays response to the Alberta catastrophe tells us the only tools any new enforcement staff are going to be issued with are rubber stamps,” said Darcy.

CUPE is calling for an immediate meeting with Prime Minister Chrt0069en and Health Minister Rock, to press them into action.

CUPE, Canadas largest union, represents 480,000 women and men working in health care, emergency services, education, municipalities, social services, libraries, utilities, transportation and airlines, including 150,000 health care workers.

For more information:
Pam Beattie (613) 237-1590 ext. 221

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