Public doesn’t trust Premier on health care—poll

News release

And Campbell’s prime time attack on health care workers won’t help, says union

In what should serve as a stinging reality check for the Liberal government, British Columbians say by an overwhelming majority that they don’t trust Premier Campbell to protect public health care.

According to a recent McIntyre and Mustel opinion survey commissioned by the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE), nearly three out of five British Columbians — 59 per cent — say they don’t feel that public Medicare is safe in the Premier’s hands. Only 35 per cent express confidence in Campbell’s ability to safeguard care services, while the remaining seven per cent don’t know.

The telephone survey of 506 British Columbians, which was in the field Feb. 6-10, posed a straightforward question, says HEU spokesperson Chris Allnutt. “We asked `do you trust Premier Campbell to protect public health care?’ And the results are a sign of just how deeply concerned the public is with the health care policies of the Liberal government,” Allnutt says.

“Clearly Campbell’s confrontational approach that’s focused on breaking collective agreements along with threats of hospital closures, service cuts and privatization is not being well received,” he said.

“It’s really unfortunate that during his TV address last night, Premier Campbell continued to show that he is not listening to British Columbians’ desire for a less extreme, more moderate approach to health policy to rebuild public trust and confidence.”

Meanwhile, in a related finding of widespread public anxiety to the Campbell government’s health care agenda, 54 per cent of British Columbians say Victoria is headed in the wrong direction — a five point increase since December when the question was last polled. Only 36 per cent approve and 10 per cent don’t know.

The McIntyre and Mustel/HEU poll has an error margin of plus or minus 4.4 per cent, 95 per cent of the time. Detailed finding for the two questions vary widely by age and gender. Women and younger British Columbians aged 18-34 are much more critical of the Campbell government. The specific questions and responses appear below.

Do you trust Premier Campbell to protect public health care? Yes 34.6% No 58.5 DON’T KNOW 7.0 In terms of health care policy and decisions, would you say the B.C. government is generally heading in the right direction or in the wrong direction? Right direction 36.4% Wrong direction 53.9 DON’T KNOW 9.7 -30- For more information or detailed poll results, contact Mike Old, communications officer, 604-456-7039 (direct); 604-828 6771 (cell)