January 13, 2005 16:54 ET

Alberta premier stuck in time warp

Thinks solutions to modern day challenges found in 1950s Attention: Business/Financial Editor, Health/Medical Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 13, 2005) - Alberta Premier Ralph Klein's announcement yesterday of his "third way" solution to modern-day challenges to health care confirmed that he is trapped in a time warp. However, his ideas amount to nothing more than privatization.

"It is obvious that Mr. Klein missed the past 50 years of progress in the country's medicare system," says Sharleen Stewart, Canadian International Vice President of the Service Employees International Union. "Canadians have already experienced private health care in the mid-1900s, which is why Tommy Douglas received overwhelming support for his creation -public medicare."

Stewarts adds that Klein and the vocal minority who keep pushing for private health care need to understand that in the medicare system there is no special treatment for the wealthy and powerful.

"That is their lot in life and they must learn to accept it," she says.

SEIU represents the largest number of health-care workers in North America, which Stewart says give her union a unique vantage point.

"SEIU has intimate insight into both the U.S. and Canadian systems," she says. "It is deplorable what people in the U.S. must suffer through in their health-care system.

"Giving profiteers the opportunity to take advantage of the sick and the weak is not the direction in which any civilized society should be moving. Mr. Klein might think that is acceptable, but Canadians don't," she says.

The vast majority of Canadians are a shining example of compassion and caring, and we realize that the medicare system benefits all of us equally, Stewart adds.

SEIU represents nearly 80,000 health-care workers across Canada.

Contact Information

  • Carl Mavromichalis, National Communications Coordinator
    Primary Phone: 416-951-4905
    Secondary Phone: 416-447-2311 ext. 243