Nurses march in Fredericton to focus attention on their workplace safety concerns
Published Friday, June 7, 2019 9:26PM ADT
Last Updated Friday, June 7, 2019 9:28PM ADT
It was a show of strength on the streets of Fredericton today.
Hundreds of nurses from across the country were rallying for more support for health care.
Their message was “care, not cuts,” and they hope the federal government is listening.
“Politicians are just starting to realize that healthcare facilities are more dangerous than prisons,” said Linda Silas, the president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.
The nurses want to make health care the main issue in the upcoming federal election. They've been discussing issues like national pharmacare and legislation to stop workplace violence at their national convention in the city this week.
But those who run the nurses unions across the country hope participants leave the biennial convention in Fredericton knowing the fight isn't over after today.
“We're just starting,” Silas said. “It's the tip of the iceberg.”
Paula Doucet, who is the president of the New Brunswick Nurses Union, says: “It just brings that solidarity amongst nurses, and gives us the energy to continue advocating on behalf of the people that we care for.”
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs met with protestors, hearing about their challenges first hand.
“We have unique challenges here with our aging demographics,” Higgs said. “Every province has a shortage of healthcare workers and nurses, particularly.”
Higgs says he’s hoping to attract nurses to the province, as the number of nurse vacancies is up to 500.
“Had I spoken, I was going to say that we have jobs here in New Brunswick and the weather's great,” Higgs said. “Maybe you would like to come here.”
Silas says the national federation is working to get legislation for “safe working conditions in every sector.”
If anything, Friday’s march shows there is
Strong support to make health care front and centre on the political stage.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jessica Ng.