Pro-Medicare reception line to greet Allan Rock at Kelowna event tonigh
Federal health minister to be pressed to take action to ban implementation of Alberta private hospital bill Kelowna-area Medicare supporters will be staging a special reception line greeting for federal health minister Allan Rock tonight, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Capri Hotel in Kelowna, where Rock is set to speak at a Canadian Club event. They'll be raising awareness about the impacts of Alberta's controversial and unpopular Bill 11, which seeks to legalize private hospitals in that province. And they'll be urging the minister to take strong action to block Premier Ralph Klein's privatization bid, even if it means amending the Canada Health Act. "The failure on the part of Rock and the federal government to act could fundamentally undermine Medicare," says Hospital Employees' Union secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. "The minister says Bill 11 violates the Canada Health Act. So there's no reason for any delay of enforcement." Allnutt says that activists from HEU and other unions will be on hand at the reception, along with members of the Kelowna chapter of the Council of Canadians. Kelowna's Raging Grannies are also set to perform. Meanwhile, Allnutt says results from an HEU/McIntyre and Mustel poll show that there's strong support from British Columbians for federal intervention to stop Bill 11 from being implemented. Just shy of 60 per cent of people surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that Rock must intervene, while 34 per cent disagreed. The poll, carried out in February has a 4.4 per cent margin of error.