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OTTAWA Letting Don Mazankowski chair a federal health care advisory council would be disastrous for public health care and a clear sign the federal government is caving to privatization pressure from the provinces, says Canada’s largest union.

“We know some provinces want nothing more than to push privatization. Don Mazankowski will put his shoulder to the wheel and push along with them, helping to dismantle Medicare. He shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a group set up to strengthen public health care,” says CUPE National President Judy Darcy.

Mazankowski most recently headed an Alberta health care advisory council that made recommendations in lockstep with Premier Ralph Klein’s privatization plans. The Mulroney-era finance and privatization minister is a director of several private insurance corporations including Great-West Lifeco Inc.

“He made his views on health care clear in Alberta, where his approach to reform was all about creating the conditions for more private, for-profit care. Prime Minister Chrt0069en’s making a serious mistake. With this appointment he’s sabotaging public health care,” says Darcy.

The Mazankowski report stands in stark contrast to the Romanow commission report on the future of health care. The Mazankowski report, written by a ’blue ribbon’ panel that included many pro-privatization members, advocates shifting the costs of health care to individuals or opening up opportunities for for-profit providers and private insurers.

“Mazankowski’s vision is to eliminate any effective government role except for a funding role. Canadians will have no part of that. They’re demanding accountable spending where every health care dollar goes to health services. They don’t want a penny going to profits,” says Darcy.

Mazankowski did not look at how public health care could be strengthened or expanded. He had no insights on how the growing number of elderly or disabled Canadians will receive the long-term home and community-care services they need. And he paid scant attention to the most significant cost-driver in health care the cost of pharmaceuticals.

“What Mazankowski did look at was how to shift funds into private pockets. The private insurance industry stands to profit handsomely if the Mazankowski blueprint is implemented in Alberta. The only reporting he’ll be interested in is the corporate annual reporting of the profits reaped from public health care,” says Darcy.

  • Click here for a backgrounder on Don Mazankowski
For more information:
Kaj Hasselriis, CUPE Communications,
(613) 798-6925
Robert Fox, CUPE Communications,
(613) 795-4977 or (613) 237-1590 ext 264