NUPGE: Cross-country 'Medicare Works' tour kicks off this week

Ottawa (18 Oct. 2006) ... Medicare Works, a national campaign tour to defend and strengthen Canadas public health care system, is being launched this week in communities across Canada.

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of the main sponsors of the campaign and tour. 

-The public system is under renewed attack, with the federal government not enforcing the Canada Health Act and some provinces aggressively pushing for-profit, two-tier health services," says Kathleen Connors, chair of the Canadian Health Coalition (CHC).

-Were urging Canadians to pressure their governments to strengthen Medicare through innovation in the public system."

Medicare Works will be officially launched by CHC Coordinator Michael McBane and by Linda Silas, national president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses' Union, at the New Brunswick Nurses' Union annual convention in Saint John.

The campaign features 32 'town hall' community meetings across Canada and National Medicare Week, a 'week of action' Nov. 13 to 18 when Canadians will be encouraged to lobby their politicians to defend public health care.

Mary Walsh, actor and writer, kicks off the first town hall meeting on Oct. 19, in St. Johns, Nfld.

At the these community meetings, health analysts and social activists will expose the commercial interests behind the renewed attack on Medicare and discuss how public sector innovation is a better way to strengthen the system.

Oct. 20 marks the 102nd birthday of Tommy Douglas, Canadas -greatest Canadian" and -father" of our public health care system. Douglas birthday will be celebrated at events across the country.

-Its essential that we make our great health care system even better," says NUPGE national president James Clancy. -We can do that by hiring more health professionals, extending Medicare to include prescription drugs, and managing wait lists better to ensure faster service."

-Medicare Works will mobilize Canadians to pressure politicians to strengthen and defend our public health care system," Connors adds. -We will make our voices heard whenever and wherever politicians and vested economic interests undermine our countrys best expression of compassion and democracy."

Visit for more information and the list of 'town halls' across the country.