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Nova Scotia rallies to keep the heart in home care

Today, the Council of Canadians joined allies across Nova Scotia to demand the provincial government protect quality home care and stop trying to balance budgets off  cutting services the most vulnerable. Nine rallies occurred in communities across the province with over 600 patients, concerned citizens and health professionals calling on the Liberal government to do the right thing and stop the race to the bottom in home care. Home care needs to be about  the patients and providing them with quality care.

Council of Canadians’ Organizer, Angelia Giles, was at today’s day of action and spoke at the Nova Scotia legislature.  She outlined that the actions were, “in response to the NS Liberal government announcing they will open home care up for competitive bidding this coming fall. Workers, home care recipients and their family members (like myself) have a lot of concerns that this will mean quality of service and quality of care for the patients will diminish; as will workers’ wages and benefits. Home care workers don’t just wash dishes as Health Minister Leo Glavine insultingly suggested recently in the media, rather they have extensive skills that patients’ – like my father- depend on for a reasonable quality of life. The stress on patients and workers created by this whole process, along with the dismissive treatment of this government to a female-dominated industry, since coming to power is pretty appalling. Where is the consultation?”

Cleaning up Glavine’s little messes – Demonstrators brought dish towels to the protests after Minister Glavine tactless and ignorant comments that home support workers paid to wash dishes. 

The NS government has not consulted with communities or those directly affected by their cavalier actions. This is because they know Nova Scotians deeply value these workers who provide a wide array of important services that people across NS depend on daily. 

Nor has this government done their homework about how these type of fire sales not only reduce the quality of care patients receive, but end up being billion dollar boondoggles. James Hutt, from the Nova Scotia Citizens Health Coalition, points out that, “The Ontario Auditor General has come out saying it’s a procurement system that is ineffective, is inequitable, and is inadequately monitored and managed… We’re saying let’s not repeat Ontario’s mistakes and lets move to protect patients.”  The Council of Canadian’s recently highlighted that procurement and P3 deals meant $8 Billion down the drain in Ontario.

This fight isn’t over, it is just beginning.  Tori Ball, from the Council of Canadians Atlantic office, stated, “It was great to be out there with our allies – this time with the sun shining for a change! After weeks of protesting this austerity budget, it is clear that Nova Scotians are more united than ever in a broad coalition. From the health care workers, concerned citizens, and union allies, to the the local Rad Rhythms drumming group and numerous supportive honks from the passing traffic – the message to this government was clear, we demand they put people before profits.”