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BC Federation of Retired Union

BC FORUM News - From The Advocate, Spring, 2019


We can and must achieve more

By Diane Wood

President, BC FORUM

Every one of us has something that frightens us. Public speaking. Travel to foreign lands. Standing up to the rich and powerful. Snakes.

It’s pretty easy to give in to our fears, stay home and do nothing.

But often the times when the butterflies are aggressively fluttering in our tummies are precisely the times we must decide to fly.

If we allow fear of failure to rule our actions, failure is guaranteed. And then we have to live with the regret of knowing that we could have done something if we had only tried.

You and I are uniquely positioned to do quite a bit in the struggle to make life better for others.

We are members of BC FORUM. We are members of the labour movement. We are never alone.

During our working lives, we saw the power of solidarity in our workplaces. It is equally effective in politics and debates on public policy.

If each of us does a little bit – to the extent that we physically and financially are able to contribute – it adds up to a lot.

Write a letter. Join a campaign. Sign up a friend in BC FORUM. Contribute to a good cause or a political party. Let’s all do what we can to grab the world and give it a good shake.

A key issue for BC FORUM is the need for a universal, single-payer national prescription drug plan.

Studies consistently show that national Pharmacare would improve health outcomes, reduce hospital admissions, and save Canadians billions of dollars each year.

A federal advisory council is scheduled to report this spring, which will help keep Pharmacare on the political agenda, but there is no certainty that it will recommend anything beyond a band-aid approach.

As you know, national Pharmacare has been talked about for many decades. Yet Canada remains the only country with public health care that doesn’t cover needed medications.

Drug prices in Canada are the second highest in the world. Only the U.S., where giant pharmaceutical corporations pour millions into election campaigns, has higher prices.

Recent news reports show that American BigPharma is actively lobbying to keep prices high in our country. They have even gone so far as to finance “research” published by the Canadian pharmaceutical industry association.

Their goal is clear. Profits first. And it hurts real people.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh recently told the heart-breaking story of a young boy who has a chronic longterm illness.

Just 10 years old, he told Singh about “the medication and the injections and all the work he’s got to go through just to stay alive.”

But he’s not worried about his illness. He’s worried about how much the treatments cost his parents. Our much vaunted public health care system – because it fails to cover needed medicines outside hospitals – has left a 10 year old boy feeling like he’s a burden to his family.

We need universal coverage for prescription drugs. It has already taken much too long to get there.

But we will. Sisters and brothers, we will never give up until we do.


Remembering Art Kube

On behalf of BC FORUM, I extend our heartfelt condolences and respect to Art Kube’s wife Mary, his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Throughout his activism in the union movement, the NDP, and seniors’ organizations, Art always had a clear vision of what needed to be done, and prodded us to do more.

He never hesitated to let us know – in no uncertain terms – when a resolution, an action or a government policy didn’t go far enough.

We cherish our time with Art and the inspiration of his example. He is dearly missed.


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