Put divisions aside and protect public health care, CUPE tells premiers

ST JOHN’S – Canada’s largest union is calling on provincial premiers to endorse the Final Report of the Federal Advisor on Wait Times, push for a national pharmacare program and stop being a “house divided” on a progressive equalization formula.

“It is essential the premiers prioritize the public delivery of health care and the creation of a national pharmacare program,” said Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

“CUPE calls on the premiers to endorse Dr. Brian Postl’s wait times report,” Moist said. “Further, we call on the Harper government to retain Dr. Postl as the federal adviser on wait times and to give him a mandate to oversee the implementation of his recommendations.”

The federal government released Postl’s report on June 30, late on Friday afternoon before the holiday long weekend. The comprehensive study contained recommendations for lowering health care wait times throughout Canada, not through ill-conceived patient “wait time guarantees” but by improving the public health care system.

Moist is attending a health care conference put on by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions that is running alongside the premiers’ Council of the Federation meeting in St. John’s this week.

“The premiers should come together to renew their commitment to a strong country through a progressive equalization formula,” Moist said. “Instead, division among them only creates space for unilateral action by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has a strong privatization agenda.”

CUPE represents 550,000 workers nationwide, including over 150,000 health care workers.