New health care money needs strings attached — B.C. unions

News release

Globe and Mail ad argues that a contract-breaking B.C. premier can’t be trusted with untied health dollars

Should strings be attached to increased federal health dollars to guarantee that provincial premiers like B.C.’s Gordon Campbell actually spend the money on health care?

That’s the question B.C.’s unions are asking in a Globe and Mail advertisement that runs across the country today as provincial premiers gather in Toronto to plot strategy for the upcoming First Ministers’ meeting on health care.

The unions say that it’s time for Ottawa to renew its commitment to Medicare and that more resources are urgently required. But they also want more accountability for these funds so that provincial governments like that in B.C. don’t squander additional funds on reckless tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy.

“Gordon Campbell can’t be trusted to keep his commitments,” says Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE) spokesperson Chris Allnutt. “After all, he broke his promise to more than 150,000 health care and education workers that he would honor their legally bargained contracts. We can’t take that chance with Medicare.”

A poll released today by the Canadian Union of Public Employees’ indicates that 81 per cent of Canadians including 91 per cent of British Columbians believe the provinces must guarantee that federal health care dollars are spent on health care as a condition of increased federal funding.

The Pollara survey of 1200 Canadians was conducted January 11-19 and is considered accurate to within 2.9 percent, 19 times out of 20. The full poll results can be downloaded from www.cupe.ca.

Today’s advertisement is sponsored by: B.C. Federation of Labour, B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union, B.C. Nurses’ Union, B.C. Teachers’ Federation, College Institute Educators’ Association of B.C., Compensation Employees’ Union, Health Sciences Association, Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE) and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1518.

For an electronic version of the ad click here Globe and Mail Ad.

-30- Contact: Mike Old, communications officer, Hospital Employees’ Union, 604-828-6771 (cell)