Council of Canadians health care campaigner Adrienne Silnicki writes, “On Monday, over 40 cities in Canada will be participating in a national day of action to raise awareness on the loss of provincial and territorial equality in health care. March 31st marks the end of the 2004 health accord and the last day Canadian health care will have equalization payments to have-not provinces, national standards, and federal funding tied to achieving set benchmarks.”
At least nineteen Council of Canadians chapters are participating in this day of action. They will be taking action in St. John’s, Charlottetown, Halifax, Bridgewater, Saint John, Ottawa, Brockville, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Brandon, Prince Albert, Regina, Nelson, Kamloops, Nanaimo, Cowichan Valley, and Campbell River/ Comox Valley.
The Prince Albert Daily Herald reports, “Speakers at Monday’s rally — who include CUPE Local 3736 president Anita Labossiere and Council of Canadians member Rick Sawa — will attempt to draw attention to what they perceive as a dire threat to public health care. …Organizers have asked anyone attending the rally to bring pots, pans, alarm clocks or to download an airhorn app to their phone in order to ‘raise the alarm’ at the expiration of the accord and the resulting threats they see to public health care.” People are being asked to gather at 5 pm at the Union Centre (107 Eighth St. E.) for a march and a rally.
The Comox Valley Record notes, “The Comox Valley and Campbell River chapters of the Council of Canadians along with the B.C. Health Coalition will hold a short rally March 31 on the day Canada’s Health Care Accord expires. The rally will be at 3:30 p.m. outside Conservative MP John Duncan’s Campbell River constituency office at 1250F Cedar St.”
And a Williams Lake Tribune columnist comments, “According to the Council of Canadians and other watchdog groups, (the new accord) could mean the end of the medicare we know and love… Most of us take our health care for granted. Maybe we won’t know what we’ve got ‘til it’s gone. Starting on Monday, a number of concerned groups in a number of provinces are holding protests to call public attention to the issue.”
Silnicki has stated, “To date, the Harper government has refused to meet with premiers to negotiate a new accord. Instead, the federal government plans to cut $36 billion over 10 years from public health care and walk away from its responsibilities to ensure equal access to all Canadians. Not having an Accord will put an end to national standards. It will lead to the fragmentation of services across the country and increasingly, access to care will depend on where you live.”
The Council of Canadians, the Canadian and provincial health care coalitions, unions, health care providers, the United Church of Canada, and many others are working together for this March 31 day of action. Our 100,000 supporters are encouraged to participate in the more than 40 events taking place across the country. For a complete listing of the actions, please see this Canadian Health Coalition map and listing.
For more information on ‘The Campaign to Protect, Strengthen and Expand Medicare’, please see this joint Council of Canadians-Canadian Union of Public Employees website.