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Every. Single. Vote. Matters.

HSA REPORT MAGAZINE, OCTOBER 2015

BY VAL AVERY
PRESIDENT, HSA

HSA is a non-partisan union, but that doesn't mean we don't speak up on the issues that matter to our members.

On October 19, Canadians have a chance to make a choice that will decide the future of our country for the next four years, and far beyond that. HSA doesn’t promote specific political parties or candidates, but our members count on their union to defend their interests, and there is plenty at stake in this election.

As workers employed in the health care system and community social services, we are all well aware of the strain that years of cuts and austerity have placed on workload and the quality of patient and client care. Every member should be greatly concerned about the possibility of this situation becoming much worse.

In 2014, the Conservative government allowed the Health Accord to expire. The Accord is the agreement between the federal government and the provinces which ensures equal access, proper funding and high standards for health care in Canada. Without a new accord, standards for care will fall across the country, and provinces will face increase pressured to privatize services. Most alarmingly, the federal government also plans to cut $36 billion in funding for health care if it gets re-elected.

$36 billion dollars.

A $36 billion dollar cut will reduce funding in BC alone by $5 billion. Imagine what that is going to do to the quality of patient care, and the already backbreaking workloads we all face.
For years, the provinces have urged a new accord. The Conservative government has refused. Stephen Harper won’t even meet with them. But while the provinces can’t force him to be accountable, you can.

It’s been said a thousand times that every vote matters and it’s never been more true.

The Conservative government has changed the rules to make it harder for all Canadians to vote, so casting your ballot takes more planning and more commitment than ever. You’ll find more about this here.

That’s why I am urging every HSA member to vote. We know voter participation is declining thanks in part to negative ads, cynical strategy and the feeling that nothing ever changes.
But believe me, change is coming. Either we will have to deal with the destructive change wrought by a $36 billion cut to public health care – or the positive change made possible by electing a government that listens to Canadians, shares their values, and is willing to reinvest in the health care system that we all depend on.

If few people vote, we will be dealing with destructive change. If more people vote – including each and every one of you – we can achieve positive change.

Please, make your vote plan, and vote for positive change on October 19.

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