Majority of British Columbians support MLA recall on health care - poll

News release

Four out of five want government to study social, economic impacts of cuts before implementation

Even before the Campbell government unveils deep health care cuts on Tuesday, a public opinion poll commissioned by the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE) shows that a solid majority of British Columbians would support the recall of Liberal MLAs because of the Campbell government’s policies on health care.

According to a McIntyre and Mustel telephone survey completed April 16, 54 per cent of British Columbians with an opinion would support recall initiatives, while 46 per cent would not. That’s a reversal of results from a February poll when 51 per cent of respondents with an opinion opposed recall.

“Clearly, British Columbians are deeply troubled by the Campbell Liberals’ health care agenda,” says HEU spokesperson Chris Allnutt. “Recall is certainly a challenging undertaking,” he says. “But unless Premier Campbell changes course, some Liberal MLAs may be vulnerable later this year.”

And in another sign of mounting unease right across the province, 78 per cent of respondents want the government to more carefully study the economic and social implications of cuts and closures before any are implemented. Only 16 per cent feel that Victoria and health authorities should act immediately to reduce health care spending.

“It’s a powerful message when nearly four out of five British Columbians sense that the Campbell Liberals will announce measures on Tuesday that will profoundly impact their communities,” says Allnutt. “People want the Liberals and health authorities to slow down, consult and study impacts before any cuts are put into effect.”

Meanwhile, another key finding shows that 72 per cent of British Columbians support postponing the privatization of health care services pending an independent inquiry into its effects on Medicare. Of that number, 46 per cent strongly support such a move. Only 24 per cent would oppose it.

The telephone survey of 501 adult British Columbians was conducted April 9 to 16, and is considered accurate to within 4.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Here are the questions:

Would you support the recall of Liberal MLAs because of the B.C. Liberal government’s policies on health care?

Yes 46.8% (54.3% of those with an opinion)

No 39.3% (45.7% of those with an opinion)

Don’t know 13.9%

In the coming weeks, the provincial government and B.C. health authorities will announce health cuts, privatization and the closure of hospitals and other health care facilities. Which is closer to your view?

The provincial government should first study the economic and social impacts of these initiatives on communities. 78.3%

These initiatives should proceed immediately to reduce health care spending. 15.5%

Don’t know.6.2%

Some groups have called for an independent inquiry into the impacts of privatization on Medicare. Do you support or oppose postponing health care privatization until an independent inquiry has been completed?

Support 71.5%

Oppose 23.9%

Don’t know 4.6%

-30-

Contact: Mike Old, communications officer, 604-828-6771 (cell), 604-456-7039 (direct)