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Canadians Travel to Detroit Town Meeting to Talk About Their Health Care

DETROIT, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Is the Canadian health system a model for universal, affordable quality health care, or is it, as the opposition and the health-care industry charge, just another example of "socialized medicine" that fails the public?

At "town meetings" in Michigan and around the U.S., and in a barrage of TV, radio, and print ads, opponents of change have been demonizing Canada's health-care system in order to sabotage single-payer and other health care reforms in the U.S.

But, as an overwhelming number of Canadians attest, Canada's system, like the other various models of universal health care around the world, proves that government can and must take the lead in guaranteeing quality, affordable health care for all its citizens. The free market has failed to meet this economic necessity and moral imperative.

On Friday, August 28, several residents of Windsor, Ontario - including a former Ford worker, a nurse, a musician, and a teacher - will travel across the river to share their health-care stories at an early-evening forum at Electrical Workers Local 58 hall, 1358 Abbott, just east of Trumbull on the west side of downtown Detroit. The event is sponsored by Southeast Michigan Jobs with Justice, a coalition of 40 labor, faith-based, and community groups, the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO, and the Southeast Michigan chapter of Gray Panthers.

"We hear so many conflicting reports about the Canadian health care system, wondering if it protects the health of elderly people, and whether Canadians are rushing to the U.S. for care that they can't get at home," said William Bryce, organizer for Southeast Michigan Jobs with Justice. "This will be an opportunity to hear first hand from a wide variety of Canadian residents and to ask them questions about the kind of care they receive."

Speakers will include Ron Drouillard, who worked 13 years at Ford in Windsor before taking a buyout and returning to school and who now hosts a radio show and is president of the Windsor Worker Action Center; Len Wallace, a musician and teacher at the University of Windsor; Katha Fortier, a nurse and director of Health Care Workers for the Canadian Auto Workers union; and Alan Hall, director of Labor Studies, University of Windsor. Hall is recruiting students who are health-care workers to share their experiences with Americans. Americans attending can get questions answered and talk with a variety of Canadians.

Marjorie Mitchell of Michigan Universal Health Care Action Network will provide an update on the health-care legislation now before Congress. All will receive a "health care truth" packet.

The Friday evening, August 28, event will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and admission is free. Light refreshments will be served and entertainment will be provided.

NOTE TO MEDIA: Participants from Canada will be available for interviews one hour prior to the event. Information: Bill Bryce, 313-961-0800.

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