Medicare campaign ambulance tour kicks off in Nanaimo Feb. 14

Various stops and events set for B.C. as ambulance heads to health care emergency in Alberta As part of the official launch of the nation-wide campaign by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, a special Medicare ambulance will depart from Nanaimo Mon. Feb. 14 on the first leg of an eight day B.C. tour to raise public awareness about the threat posed by Ralph Klein's bid to set up private hospitals in Alberta. Along with two others departing from different parts of the country, the ambulances will descend on Alberta to mobilize public opposition to the health care emergency caused by Klein and his privatization initiative, and to press the federal government to restore federal health care funding to modernize public Medicare services in Canada. As CUPE's Health Services Division in B.C., HEU activists Sheila Rowswell (Provincial Executive and G.F. Strong local) and Arleta Keppler (Royal Jubilee local in Victoria) will join ambulance paramedic Stewart Meyers from CUPE local 873, on the tour which will feature many stops, rallies and special events in communities across the province. Theyíll hand over the ambulance to Alberta activists on Feb. 23 in Grand Prairie. A tour stop schedule and events calendar is attached. For the latest schedule information phone 1-877-600-1180, or visit HEU's web site at www.heu.org. HEU president Fred Muzin said the ambulance tour is just the first step in the initial phase of the campaign, building towards a national day of action by CUPE members Feb. 29. "We've gained some real momentum in the fight against Klein and right-wing proponents of privatization," says Muzin, who urged union members to take an active part in the campaign. "Let's keep up the opposition to Klein and increase pressure on federal health minister Allan Rock to block the privatization efforts." Muzin said that other groups are organizing and mobilizing around the Medicare campaign as well. The B.C. Health Coalition, which HEU is part of, has a number of events planned, which are listed in the attached schedule. The B.C. Teachers' Federation, with support form HEU, is sponsoring a speaking tour by Council of Canadians leader Maude Barlow about protecting health care and education in a global economy. Barlow's six-stop B.C. tour is also included in the attached events schedule. Act now! ? Send a post card to Federal Health Minister Allan Rock. Every HEU member received one in the mail. There are extras at your union office. Mail it now - no postage is required. ? Tell federal and provincial politicians you're opposed to for-profit health care. You can fax your MP using CUPE's web site at www.cupe.ca ? Find out what activities your union local is organizing for CUPE's Medicare Day of Action on Feb. 29 - and get involved!