PM must defend Medicare from 'Swift Boat' attacks | National Union of Public and General Employees

PM must defend Medicare from 'Swift Boat' attacks

NUPGE's James Clancy says its time for Stephen Harper to stand up against American propaganda and scare tactics.

Ottawa (23 July 2009) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper should step up and defend Canada's public health care system from malicious propaganda and scare tactics being used by private health care interests battling health care reform in the United States, says James Clancy, national president of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).

In a letter to Harper, Clancy says shock and anger is growing among Canadians at the extent of "reprehensible misrepresentations and distortions" being levelled at Canada's national health care system.

"Canada’s single-payer system and our country’s reputation are under attack in America from a multi-million dollar tidal wave of special-interest propaganda and scare tactics," Clancy writes.

"Leading U.S. legislators have made badly misinformed statements about our system. TV ads and Internet videos, many featuring 'real life' stories, contain factual errors and false claims," he notes.

"Not surprisingly the same firm that orchestrated the infamous 'Swift Boat' attack campaign against 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry is behind the current misinformation campaign about our health system," he adds.

"I urge you to present an accurate reflection of the benefits and popularity of Canada’s most cherished social program to the American public and policy-makers. Our health care system is being used as a political pawn in the U.S. and you have an obligation as our prime minister to set the record straight and prevent the “swift-boating” of our reputation and health system."

Clancy says Harper has many options available to speak up for the Canadian system. They include the possibility of appearing before U.S. legislative bodies, undertaking a media campaign to inform Americans how well public health care has served Canadians or inviting U.S. policy makers to send a “study mission” to Canada.

"I urge you to take these actions quickly before this negative, anti-Canadian smear campaign gains a stronger foothold in the American public consciousness and unduly influences decisions not only about health care but about tourism and investment as well," Clancy writes.

His letter is also copied to Canadian Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, MP for Nunavut.


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

Occupational Groups: