OTTAWA Social strife is assured if Canadas first ministers dont stem the tide of privatization undermining public health care, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
Warning of potential unrest if privatization is left unchecked, CUPE National President Paul Moist said first ministers risk labour turmoil unless they protect the public good by stopping private, for-profit delivery of health care services.
CUPE is ready to defend public health care, even if our politicians arent, Moist said. Attacking workers and slashing wages womens wages in particular will be met with resistance.
The first ministers are refusing to engage in a real discussion about how health care services are delivered, Moist added. How can you meet for a day and fail to even mention the word privatization?
CUPEs collective bargaining and resistance to privatization benefits its members and the public at large, and the union makes no apologies for that, National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Gnreux said.
We will fight for good jobs with decent wages and benefits in the health care sector because you wont find them at Wal-Mart, Gnreux said. We will fight tirelessly to maintain and sustain public health care in communities across this country.
Gnreux was shocked that not a single premier or territorial leader had explicitly stated that delivery of health care services should remain in public hands.
Who among the first ministers will step up and defend public health care? Gnreux asked. Who will protect the public interest? Who will say the word privatization and pledge to stop it?
The exception to the politicians conspiracy of silence was Saskatchewan Premier Lorne Calvert. He said solutions to health care will not be found in the marketplace, but in our communities.
We encourage Premier Calvert to build on this statement and highlight the underlying crisis facing public health care the corrosive drain that privatization and profiteering are having on the public good, Moist said.
CUPE represents 140,000 workers in the health care sector. They play a crucial role in delivering quality, public health care to Canadians. With over 500,000 members, CUPE is fighting for public services and rebuilding strong communities across Canada.