Petition opposing private Abbotsford hospital attracts 8,200 signatures

News release

Public consultation needed before any decisions are made — HEU

Fraser Valley health care workers today delivered an 8,200-signature petition opposing a private hospital in Abbotsford to local MLA John van Dongen.

The petition calls on government to reject plans for a privatized facility and to proceed with construction of a new publicly financed and owned hospital and health centre. The petition was circulated by health care workers, as well as by faith, community and seniors groups.

Local members of the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE) presented the petition to van Dongen in Abbotsford this afternoon and asked him to table it in the legislature. The Abbotsford-Clayburn MLA told media as recently as two weeks ago that he hasn’t heard much public objection to the concept of a privately owned hospital in his community.

“There’s clearly a lot of public concern about this government’s plans to privatize our hospital,” says Joyce Giroux of the HEU local at MSA Hospital. “Before any decisions are made, we need to have real consultation with Fraser Valley residents — maybe even a referendum.”

HEU has hired forensic accountant Ron Parks to provide an independent analysis of the recent PriceWaterhouseCoopers report that forms the basis of the privatization proposal.

Meanwhile, Fraser Valley health care workers and community activists will be talking with the public this weekend about the private hospital scheme, and the lack of public involvement in the decision-making process. At the Abbotsford Fair Grounds flea market this Sunday, they’ll be asking Abbotsford residents to send letters to local MLAs urging the Campbell government to build a publicly financed, owned and operated facility.

-30- Contact: Margi Blamey, 604-785-5324 (cell)