Multinational is focus of CUPE protest

Hundreds of delegates flood downtown Vancouver in middle of a downpour In pouring rain, more than 1000 CUPE delegates marched from their convention site at the Vancouver Convention Centre to the headquarters of Price Waterhouse Coopers to protest a B.C. proposal for Canada’s first privately financed and privately owned hospital.

Price Waterhouse Coopers is a major proponent of private schemes for health care and has profited handsomely from private financed hospitals in Britain. They are serving as a consultant to the Fraser Valley Health Region on a proposal to investigate all options, including public, to replace the aging MSA Hospital.

Terry Lukach, chair of the MSA Hospital, told the protesters that in less than four weeks after learning of the Liberal government’s secret plans to build a privately financed and owned hospital in the Fraser Valley, the community and HEU have mobilized to stop this first step towards privatization.

“Of course we need a new hospital, we’ve been holding public meetings and consultations for years, going through all the proper channels,” she said. “And the community did not talk about a private hospital.”

CUPE National president Judy Darcy said that CUPE will fight to stop the building of a private hospital in Abbotsford. “We stopped them in Prince Edward Island, and we’ll do it again in Abbotsford,” she said. She told union members not to think they are powerless. “The privateers have said that the biggest obstacle to their plans to privatize health care in this country is CUPE, and they are absolutely right!”

HEU president Fred Muzin said Price Waterhouse Coopers’ involvement may be a conflict of interest. “That’s why HEU has asked the auditor general to review their role in the planning process to replace MSA General Hospital. Especially if they stand to make material gains from their own recommendations.”