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OTTAWA The Ontario Conservative governments controversial plan to privatize an Ottawa hospital before the upcoming provincial election is highly undemocratic, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Ernie Eves knows that hes in the fight of his political life, so hes trying to ram through the Royal Ottawa Hospital deal before a new government can stop it, says Judy Darcy, National President of CUPE. She is calling on Eves to hold off on the deal, until the voters have cast their ballots in the October 2 election.

If the premier is so confident that the people of Ontario support hospital privatization, he should wait until after the election before he signs this deal, says Darcy. The P3 plan for Royal Ottawa Hospital is opposed by both Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty and NDP leader Howard Hampton.

A report in todays Ottawa Citizen confirms that the government is only days away from signing a $100-million privatization deal with a multinational consortium for the rebuilding of Royal Ottawa Hospital. The hospitals president, George Langill, confirmed that the penalties for canceling the deal would be so iron-clad that no future government would be able to do it.

It will be very, very difficult to turn this around without paying a huge cost like the Pearson Airport deal, Langill told The Citizen.

Darcy says comparing the ROH deal to the privatization of Pearson Airport is apt, since that case also involved a desperate Conservative leader making last-minute deals with his business cronies before leaving office. Brian Mulroney knew the Pearson deal was unpopular, so he rammed it through right before he quit as prime minister, says Darcy. Ernie Eves knows his days are numbered, so hes trying to close one last deal for his corporate friends and campaign funders before he gets tossed from office, too.

Darcy says the Eves government has been negotiating the ROH deal behind closed doors for years, and CUPE will pursue all methods of stopping it, including legal challenges. Theres no reason why the contract has to be signed in the next few days. It can wait until voters have their say, on October 2.

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For more information:
Kaj Hasselriis
CUPE National Communications
613-237-1590 ext. 268 (o)
613-798-6925 (c)