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The majority of Saskatchewan residents do not want the government to privatize health services like medical labs and food services. And they are strongly opposed to the use of public private partnerships to finance and operate schools, hospitals and highways, a new Viewpoints Research poll has found.

The poll, commissioned by CUPE Saskatchewan, surveyed 800 residents across the province from November 13 – 19. The margin of error is ± 3.4%.

The poll clearly shows Saskatchewan people are committed to the public delivery of our health care system – and want no part of it privatized,” says CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham.

The Saskatchewan government admitted over the summer its review of the health care system – the Patient First Review – would consider privatizing health care services. But the Viewpoints poll found stiff opposition to the idea.

More than 53.6% of respondents opposed privatizing health support services; of those 38.3% strongly opposed the idea. In contrast, 39.3% supported privatizing hospital services; only 15.9% strongly supported it.

In addition, most respondents to the poll flatly rejected using public private partnerships (P3s) to provide public infrastructure like bridges or public facilities like schools and hospitals. The poll found 50% of respondents opposed the idea, while 35.7% supported it.

As well, 73% of respondents said public facilities like hospitals and schools should be owned and controlled by the public, not private companies.

Most respondents (59%) felt it was “extremely important” for the Wall government to reduce hospital wait times, while the second priority issue identified as extremely important (44.8%) was reducing homelessness and poverty.

People want to see changes that strengthen our public health care system and help the most disadvantaged people in our communities,” says Graham. “It’s a ‘Yes We Can’ message – and that’s very positive.”