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Over a thousand people came out to the Prince Albert Keep Health Care Public Festival to listen to great bands, eat some good food and learn about the threats to public health care.

Though Saskatchewan is the home of medicare in Canada, public health care is facing large scale threats.

In Prince Albert, over 100 hospital laundry workers are going to be losing their jobs due to privatization. In May of last year, the provincial government decided to privatize all hospital laundry in the province and contract it out to a profit seeking Alberta company called K-Bro Linens.

Laundry is just one of the health care services on the chopping block. The government has tasked 3sHealth with creating business plans for the privatization of over ten health care services, including food services, medical transcription, cleaning and janitorial services, medical diagnostics and more.

The crunch in Saskatchewan is made worse because of the federal government’s refusal to renew the health accord. Saskatchewan is losing over 1.1 billion dollars over ten years.

Health care workers around the province are standing up to privatization and speaking out about the impact the privatization of health care will have on our communities, workers and the quality of care.

The event was organized by CUPE Local 4777, which represents health care workers in the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region. Throughout the summer, Local 4777 members organized barbecues in communities all over the health region to raise awareness about the impact of privatization. This event capped off a very successful summer of public engagement.

The festival featured eight great local bands, including headliner Constant Reminder. CUPE gave out over 1,400 hamburgers and 300 hotdogs to a hungry crowd. There was a very busy children’s activity tent that included face painting and a jumpy castle.