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March 28, 2003

    Ontario Tories will finance their tax cuts with federal health care monies

    OTTAWA, March 28 /CNW/ - Ontarians waiting for improved health care
services will have to wait some more. Ernie Eves and his Tories need the money
first, for new tax cuts, and the federal government has only itself to blame
for this blatant misuse of the new federal health care funding, says Canadian
Labour Congress President Ken Georgetti.
    "Ontario's misuse of federal dollars intended for health care could have
been prevented. But the Prime Minister backed down when provincial
governments, led by right-wing premiers, refused to accept any strong
accountability measures attached to the monies the federal government
transfers for public health care."
    "Yesterday's Ontario budget speech not only displayed the contempt
today's right-wing parties have for the democratic process, it also exposed
the toothless federal agenda for protecting public medicare," Georgetti said.
    The Romanow report was crystal clear when it told the federal government
that Canadians wanted the provinces held accountable for how they used federal
health care dollars. But the Prime Minister and the federal government opted
for the path of least resistance.
    Yesterday's Ontario budget speech outlined an agenda of increased
privatization and even deeper tax cuts at a time when public medicare is
showing the strains of years of Harris & Eves under-funding. Money given to
Ontario by the federal government specifically for use in meeting urgent
health care needs are being used to help rich ideological supporters in
advance of an election.
    "Working people predicted this was going to happen and take no pleasure
in saying we told you so, Prime Minister," said Georgetti.
    Canada's labour movement continues to demand full implementation of the
Romanow Report including measures to curb creeping privatization of the public
health care system and to hold provincial governments accountable for how they
spend every penny of the federal transfers.
    The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement,
represents 2.5 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's
national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial
federations of labour and 137 district labour councils. Web site:
www.clc-ctc.ca