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The controversial $100-million contract to privatize Royal Ottawa Hospital has been signed, just one week before Ernie Eves government is sure to go down to defeat in a provincial election.

The Tories blue ink is almost dry, says Judy Darcy, national president of CUPE, but obviously Ernie Eves had enough left in his pen for one last deal. This is a multi-million dollar gift to a multinational consortium that has no business owning and operating a hospital.

It will be up to a future government to decide if this contract really goes ahead, and it looks like that government will be headed by Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty. Unfortunately, McGuinty cant seem to decide where he stands on this issue. A few days ago, he said he would have to examine the contract. Today, he says he doesnt want to pay a penalty to break it. For some reason, Dalton McGuinty still hasnt found a firm position on one of the most important issues in this election the future of our public health care system.

According to the terms of the contract that have been made public, a new government would have to pay a $10-million penalty to cancel the deal. Darcy is urging McGuinty to do just that. It will cost a lot more to taxpayers to keep this deal over the next six decades, says Darcy. The multinational consortium has already admitted that it will cost the government much more in the long run to make monthly payments than to own the hospital outright in the first place.

New Democratic Party leader Howard Hampton is the only leader who has taken a strong stand against the ROH deal. Lets pray for a minority government, says Darcy, so a third party can inject some sanity into this health care nightmare.