CURC

Alberta seniors ignite Pharmacare buzz

Judy Lederer

Judy Lederer is President of the Edmonton Area Council of CURC.

When Judy Lederer calls for a new national drug plan, she has become the voice of a fast-growing number of seniors right across the country.

As President of the Edmonton Area Council of the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC), Lederer has inspired many in Alberta to take on pharmacare as a winnable issue for the next round of national and provincial elections.

The same view is held by the Alberta Federation of Union Retirees (AFUR) — the Alberta CURC, which oversees a working committee of 15 other organisations from health, senior and union sectors to build support for Pharmacare in the province.

The Pharmacare Working Group (APWG) is about to kick-off a direct lobby of Alberta MPs, while asking each Alberta municipality and town to adopt a pharmacare resolution.
Meanwhile, Lederer is pushing everyone to become more vocal and active about Pharmacare. She has worked diligently to circulate a petition, currently circulating throughout the country, and encourages everyone to become active in the campaign, including sending letters to their MP’s.

“We’ve barely begun and already over 4000 Albertans have signed paper and electronic petitions on Pharmacare. Organizations like the Canadian Labour Congress and the Canadian Doctors for Medicare, join many other diverse groups in their support for universal Pharmacare — to the point that it will become a hot button election issue”, she says. “But what is most needed now is the political will to make it happen. Canadians have waited for more than 50 years for Pharmacare — now is the time!”

She is encouraged by the recent report by the Federal Government’s Standing Committee on Health (HESA), outlining recommendations for a single payer publicly funded prescription drug coverage program that will cover all Canadians. “We are one step closer to achieving Tommy Douglas’ vision of a broader continuum of health care – one that includes Pharmacare,” says Lederer, “for Pharmacare is the unfinished business of Medicare”.

Lederer is among a growing and active group of seniors across the country pushing the Pharmacare file. The CURC national Convention next September in Toronto expects to debate the issue, in the lead up to the Federal election next year.

A strong believer in collective action, she credits her Edmonton Area Council members for doing much of the work but she has become a model within the community of seniors, hitting the road next week to help boost the outcome of pharmacare meetings, scheduled in other Alberta centres.

AFUR President Lucien Royer says that Lederer’s success and leadership is riding a wave of support for Pharmacare, among Canadians and Albertans. “Seniors are not only adding their voices to the clamour, they are beginning to lead the charge,” he concludes.

 

For further information on AFUR and the Pharmacare Campaign contact:

Lucien Royer, AFUR at 780-991-2264 or e-mail lroyer@gfoundation.ca
Judy Lederer, CURC – Edmonton at 780-434-1690 or e-mail judy.lederer@hotmail.com

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