Nurses make health care an election issue

WATCH: One thousand nurses from across the country descended on the streets of Halifax Friday. They want health care cuts to be a federal election issue this fall. Ray Bradshaw reports.

HALIFAX – Nurses across Canada want health care to be a federal election issue this fall. Roughly one thousand nurses, in Halifax for a national nurses conference, marched through the city to raise awareness about their demands.

Nurses dressed in white t-shirts started their march at the World Trade and Convention Centre. Along the way they chanted, “We are the nurses, the mighty, mighty nurses.”

The march ended at Cornwallis Park, where several people spoke about the group’s goals.

“Canada’s nurses are standing up for health care, and Ottawa you better listen or you’re out of there,” shouted Linda Silas, the President of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.

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Silas said nurses want four things. “We want a national prescription drug program, we want a save seniors agenda, we want a national health human resources, and we need this federal government to stop hiding behind this Ottawa border and give health care some leadership it needs.”

Nova Scotia nurses say they’re fully behind Silas and the national campaign.

“We can’t just have the healthy and wealthy getting health care,” said Janet Hazelton. The Nova Scotia Nurses Union President told the audience, “We need to protect our health care system and we will support a government that will do that. We will not support anyone that will gut our system.”

Hazelton says the Harper government is killing the health care system. “The Harper government has said that they are going to decrease the funding to nova scotia by 900-million dollars,” said Hazelton. “We can’t sustain that. It’s going to mean closures of beds, laying off of nurses, long term care facilities that will not open.”

The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions represents 200-thousand nurses. Their 5-day national convention wrapped up today.

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