Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

October 22, 2014 10:04 ET

Keep our hospital public: North Battleford town hall meeting

NORTH BATTLEFORD, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwired - Oct. 22, 2014) - The Wall government is moving ahead with its risky and expensive plans for a public-private partnership to build a combined mental health hospital and correctional facility. It is pursuing this plan despite evidence from Canada and abroad that public-private partnerships (P3s) are more costly and do not serve the public well.

In the absence of any consultation from the provincial government, advocates for public health care will gather tonight at a town hall to learn from three experts about the higher costs, lack of transparency, and broad community impact of P3 hospitals. The proposal for the North Battleford development would see a consortium of corporations design, build, partly finance and maintain the facility in a long-term contract.

"Privatizing hospital facilities has inflated costs in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia," said CUPE National President Paul Moist. "In the United Kingdom, the higher financing costs of P3 hospitals have created a crushing long-term debt that is bleeding money away from care. Saskatchewan residents are in danger of paying more and getting less with this P3 hospital."

"The hospital plans are part of a broader push to privatize public health care in Saskatchewan," said Council of Canadians National Chairperson Maude Barlow.

"Whether in Brad Wall's latest musings about private MRIs on social media, or in his government's damaging moves to privatize long-term care facilities, laundry services, surgeries and diagnostic services, there's no room for profit in our public health care system," said Barlow. "Privatization hurts patients and communities by eroding access to quality care, and endangering good jobs."

The lack of transparency surrounding P3s means the public is left in the dark about crucial information, preventing an independent assessment of the true costs of privatization.

"P3 promoters rely on secrecy and dubious accounting to claim cost savings. Key financial details of P3 projects like the North Battleford hospital are kept under close wraps - including the all-important calculations about who shoulders the risk," said Simon Enoch, Director of the Saskatchewan office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. "If these schemes are really such good deals for the public, then the books should be fully open."

Moist, Barlow and Enoch will join former NDP MLA and MP Len Taylor at a public town hall tonight.

Who: Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and author of Profit is Not the Cure: A Citizen's Guide to Saving Medicare

Paul Moist, National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees

Simon Enoch, Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Saskatchewan

Len Taylor, former NDP Member of the Legislative Assembly and former NDP Member of Parliament

What: Town hall meeting about the proposed P3 to build the Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford

When: Wednesday, October 22, 7 p.m.

Where: Dekker Centre, 623 Carlton Trail, North Battleford

Contact Information

  • Tria Donaldson
    CUPE Communications
    (306) 531-6247

    Sujata Dey
    Media Officer
    Council of Canadians
    613 796-7724