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OTTAWA The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) says Health Minister Pierre Pettigrews comments on public funding for private health care reveal Paul Martins real agenda for Medicare.

The minister cant backpedal fast enough from his remarks in favour of opening the floodgates to corporations looking to make profits from health care, said Paul Moist, CUPE National President. But for all the spin, its clear the Martin government will do anything to buy the silence of the premiers and open up new markets for their big business backers and if that means selling out public health care, theyll do it.

This isnt the first evidence weve seen that Paul Martin wants to promote for-profit delivery of health care services, said Moist. Just last month one of his parliamentary secretaries was calling for private ownership and operation of hospitals.

Moist also pointed out the shoddy record of the Liberals in enforcing the Canada Health Act. By slashing federal funding to health care, Martin undercut federal authority to make sure our health care dollars are being spent to meet patients needs. He has basically given those premiers who want to privatize public health care the excuse and the license to do so.

If Paul Martin and Pierre Pettigrew think for-profit delivery of public health care is the way to protect health care for the next generation, theyre dead wrong, said Moist. Wed see this country overrun by American HMOs faster than you can say hoodwinked and the result would be much higher costs and longer waiting times for all but the most wealthy.

Moist ridiculed the Liberal election strategy to portray themselves as the saviors of medicare.

Joe Clarke got it wrong when he said Paul Martin is less scary than Stephen Harper. On health care, Paul Martin is Stephen Harper, pushing private hospitals, two-tier care and fat corporate profits.

For more information, contact:

Paul Moist
CUPE National President
613-558-2873 (cell)

Robert Fox
CUPE Communications
613-795-4977 (cell)

David Robbins
CUPE Communications
613-878-1431 (cell)