HEU raises coverage bias, errors in meeting with Vancouver Sun editorial board

Union highlights its solutions for better Medicare that the Sun ignored

Get your facts right and start covering our solutions for better Medicare was the message HEU delivered to the Vancouver Sun’s editorial writers in a thoughtful and animated 85-minute meeting on Oct.3 at the newspaper’s Vancouver headquarters.

Union leaders pressed for the opportunity after the Sun ran a very biased and factually inaccurate editorial in late September calling on government to roll back the wages of health and support workers as a way to cut health care spending. Based on a six-year biased and flawed Fraser Institute study, the editorial falsely claimed that some health workers were paid between 25 and 63 per cent more than comparable jobs in the private sector.

“It’s fine for you to take positions and have opinions that are controversial and thought provoking,” union secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt told four Sun editorial writers. “Your editorial talked about abrogating a legally binding contract and rolling back our wages. But you should make sure you have your facts right,” chided Allnutt.

And Allnutt reviewed a variety of HEU health policy initiatives to solve many of the challenges facing Medicare that the Sun has simply ignored and not covered. These included greater use of Licensed Practical Nurses and Care Aides to address the nursing shortage, proposals for more home support and other community services to take pressures off hospitals and thoughtful research on why we needed to expand the Pharmacare program, not cut it as the Liberals have done.

Meanwhile, on the government liaison front, HEU has a number of key meetings set with politicians in Victoria. On Oct. 18, Provincial Executive members who work in mental health services will meet with the minister responsible Dr. Gulzar Cheema.

They’ll press the Liberals on a number of fronts, including funding cuts in community and social services funded mental health services, and the government’s decision to eliminate successorship protections for caregivers in social services. They’ll also sound the alarm about the impacts of Pharmacare cuts that will expose them to more incidents of violence in the workplace because their clients won’t be able to afford to pay for medications.

And in November, HEU leaders will meet with Premier Campbell and the four cabinet ministers responsible for health to discuss a variety of concerns.