Health coalitions tell premiers to stop privatizing public health services
Public health care activists seized the spotlight during the meeting of premiers this week in Winnipeg, demanding that health dollars be used to support public health care.
Gathered behind the banner, “Profit doesn’t care: Stop privatization, pharmacare now,” over 200 front line health workers, activists and patients marched past the Fort Garry Hotel where the premiers were meeting as the Council of the Federation. A rally followed at the Manitoba Federation of Labour office nearby with speakers, special guests, journalists – and a raucous performance by The Raging Grannies.
In solidarity, provincial and territorial health coalitions issued a joint statement, saying, “Health Coalitions call on the premiers to ensure any public health funding be used in the public interest and not used to privatize health care.”
The demonstration was organized jointly by Manitoba and national organizations, the Manitoba Health Coalition, the Manitoba Federation of Labor, the Canadian Health Coalition, and the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions. Speakers from the sponsors were joined by representatives from the Canadian Labour Congress, CUPE Manitoba, the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union, and the Manitoba Nurses Union.
“The only ones that get better by having a privatized health-care system are rich investors and their thick wallets, and that has to stop”
Canadian Labour Congress President Bea Bruske
“When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you do is you stop digging — that is what premiers are doing sending more and more money to private health-care providers.”
Canadian Health Coalition Policy & Advocacy Director Steven Staples
“We need to make health-care jobs the best in our community.”
Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions President Linda Silas
Quotes from “Rally seeks to steer premiers away from for-profit health-care spending” by Carol Sanders, published by the Winnipeg Free Press on July 11, 2023
Coalitions will continue to press the premiers and the prime minister to defend and expand public health care. The federal government is expected to bring about a new public dental care program and pass framework legislation for a national universal pharmacare program by the end of the year.
Our sincere thanks to photographer David Lipnowski.