Measures for greater security for public Medicare missing from federal budget

News release

Leaders from B.C.’s two largest health care unions says Paul Martin’s budget brought down this afternoon fails to address the biggest security concerns held by Canadians: restoring stability to public Medicare.

Hospital Employees’ Union president Fred Muzin is angry that the federal finance minister could find billions of dollars for additional spending to beef up border security, but nothing for health care. “Across Canada, Medicare faces tremendous insecurity because of federal funding cuts,” says Muzin. “This budget shows that Chretien government’s priorities are really screwed up.”

The B.C. Nurses Union says that health care security should have been a budget priority for Martin. “If we don’t address the nursing shortage and seek to secure the best public health care possible, how can this be a `security’ budget?,” wonders BCNU president Debra McPherson. “We’re extremely disappointed that Martin hasn’t taken the steps needed to make Medicare better for Canadians.”

Both McPherson and Muzin believe that Premier Campbell and colleagues like Ralph Klein and Mike Harris will use the absence of increased federal health care spending to push forward with their destructive agenda of cuts to health care services, privatization, and user fees. The Premiers are determined to dismantle the health care system and will use any excuse to do so.