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Alberta’s UCP government launched another attack on the province’s public health-care system with its decision today (Thursday, June 20) to cancel the project to build a modern laboratory hub for Edmonton and northern Alberta.

“Once again, it seems that facts and patient needs don’t matter to this government,” says Bonnie Gostola, vice-president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), which represents 95,000 Albertans, more than half working in health care, and chair of the union’s anti-privatization committee.

“The independent Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) and Alberta Health Services (AHS) have examined this thoroughly and both came to the conclusion that a new lab was needed to keep up with growing demand for tests and the growing population,” she says.

“This cancellation won’t save money because a new lab is desperately needed and will have to be built soon and Albertans will have to pay for it. A previous Conservative government was going to hand over $3 billion to an Australian company to do it.”

In 2016, the HQCA cited “aging buildings and equipment” at many sites. In 2017, it said: “Seventy-six per cent of AHS laboratory equipment and nearly 60 per cent of CLS equipment is at end of life.” The new lab hub would have resolved these issues.

“This decision is about leaving more public assets in the hands of a private, for-profit corporation. The UCP just couldn’t stand the idea that experts had determined that an integrated, publicly owned and operated lab system was best for patients,” says Gostola.

“This government seems hell-bent on handing over our health-care system to its corporate chums. It looks like massive tax cuts aren’t enough for their friends.”

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For more information:

Terry Inigo-Jones, AUPE communications officer: 403-531-8602.