The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) and the Canadian Health Professionals Secretariat (CHPS) are sending delegations to participate in the Shadow Summit and Mass Rally in Niagara-on-the-Lake on July 24 and 25.
Ottawa (23 July 2013) — In the lead up to the 2013 Council of the Federation meeting in Niagara-on-the-Lake, supporters of the Canadian Medicare system are preparing for an interesting few days. The Council of the Federation meeting is the annual gathering of provincial and territorial leaders to discuss a range of issues. This year it is expected that the renewal of the 2004 Health Accord will be discussed.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) and the Canadian Health Professionals Secretariat (CHPS) are sending delegations to participate in the Shadow Summit and mass rally planned for July 24 and 25. The events are being organized by the Canadian Health Coalition and the Ontario Health Coalition. NUPGE and CHPS are members of both organizations.
Harper government retreating on health-care support
Medicare activists see the meeting as an important opportunity to convince the Premiers and Territorial Leaders to unite around defending the crown jewel of Canadian public programs. Many are urging the provinces to speak out against what is seen as the Federal government's abandoning of health care. The provinces must take an active role in preventing a watering down on this essential program to all Canadians.
Open letter published in Toronto Star
In a letter to the Toronto Star, prominent Canadians Shirley Douglas, Maude Barlow and Sharon Sholzberg-Gray took the Harper government to task on its record in health care.
"As strong supporters of public health care, we are deeply concerned that the federal government led by Stephen Harper has no intention of engaging the provincial and territorial governments to secure a new 10-year Health Accord when the current one expires in 2014."
They go on to write that the "federal government is retreating from supporting and upholding public medicare. It has downloaded costs and responsibilities and abandoned its essential federal role in encouraging innovations like curtailing the cost of drugs and expanding the principles of medicare to cover home and continuing care."
"The federal share of funding for health care, already low, will decline by $36 billion in coming years. Ottawa plans to leave the risks and the pressures to provinces and territories to deal with on their own. In addition, the Harper government has also cut health care for refugees, RCMP, veterans’ long-term care beds, and the Health Council of Canada."
Shadow Summit and Mass Rally
Just down the street from where the Council of the Federation is meeting, the Shadow Summit will include workshops highlighting the challenges to Medicare and proposals to protect and improve it. The Shadow Summit will begin on July 24 from 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. at St. Mark’s Anglican Church, 41 Byron St., Niagara-on-the-Lake.
There will also be an Assembly featuring a cross-country discussion on the threats to Medicare and on the actions of those working to save and strengthen it. Health Coalitions and key groups from across Canada will report-in on the key issues. The Assembly will be held on July 25, from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. at St. Mark's.
Right after the Assembly, there will be a Mass Rally at 11:30 a.m.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE