Liberals’ throne speech signals renewed confrontation, privatization in health care

News release

The Hospital Employees’ Union says this afternoon’s Speech from the Throne with its sweeping hints of more upheaval and privatization in health care will further destabilize care services for British Columbians.

“What our health care system needs more than ever is stability,” says HEU spokesperson Chris Allnutt. “But as part of his reckless economic and social agenda, Premier Campbell seems intent to pursue an even more confrontational agenda that puts patients and health care workers last.”

Allnutt says the Campbell government’s plans to expand privatization in health care and open the door to private sector ownership of health care facilities like hospitals “amounts to a fundamental attack on the foundations of Medicare.”

And he said that the threat of changes to the labour code, employment standards and the Workers’ Compensation Board mean that workers and those injured on the job will face a renewed onslaught to reduce workplace protections.

“Surely the confrontational tone to the speech won’t comfort outside investors who are already looking wearily at the social and economic instability taking shape in B.C,” he said.

“We have an increasingly authoritarian Premier — whom British Columbians don’t trust — saying he `won’t waiver’, or `falter’,” says Allnutt. “What he really means is that he won’t listen to British Columbians who are increasingly calling on the government to chart a more moderate approach to economic and social policy.”

-30- For more information, contact Stephen Howard, director of communications 604/240-8524 (cell)