Media Advisory: Nurses take Federal Opposition Leader Stéphane Dion and Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George Smitherman to see SiCKO

    TORONTO, Aug. 16 /CNW/ - It's not every day that nurses take politicians
to the movies, but members of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
(RNAO) are so committed to protecting Canada's universal health-care system
that this afternoon they'll be taking several political leaders to see SiCKO,
a documentary which examines the human costs of the U.S. health-care system.
    Canada's official Opposition Leader Stéphane Dion and members of his
team, as well as Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George
Smitherman, will join registered nurses working in various roles and sectors
to watch the movie. Following the viewing, politicians and nurses will hold a
round-table discussion to talk about the importance of preserving our
patient-centred, non-profit health care system.
    "We can't forget how much Canadians need and value the Medicare system
established by Tommy Douglas. Nurses' knowledge, expertise and compassion are
central to the system, so it makes sense for nurses to remind politicians of
the dangers of taking any steps that move us toward an American-style health
care system," says Mary Ferguson-Paré, RNAO's President.
    "We're very pleased that Mr. Dion and members of his team, as well as
Minister Smitherman, have accepted our invitation to see SiCKO. We have issued
invitations to all political parties - federally and in Ontario - because
political leaders hold the future of Medicare in their hands. If any
politicians ever doubted the merits of the Canadian health system or wondered
if we'd benefit from for-profit health care, this film will bring a healthy
dose of reality," says Executive Director Doris Grinspun, adding that
"Medicare is Canada's most cherished public program and nurses are committed
to protecting and enhancing it."

    WHAT:     SiCKO matinee and roundtable discussion on health care

    WHERE:    Cumberland Four Theatre
              159 Cumberland Street (Avenue Road and Bloor)

    WHEN:     Thursday, August 16

              13:00    Nurses, Mr. Dion and members of his team, and Minister
                       Smitherman arrive at theatre

              15:30    Media availability - Village of Yorkville Park (known
                       as The Rock) - on Cumberland Street, a three-minute
                       walk from the theatre

              15:45    Mr. Dion departs for roundtable at RNAO office -
                       158 Pearl Street (2 blocks west of University Avenue
                       and 1 block north of King Street)

              16:00    Mr. Dion arrives at RNAO office for roundtable

              17:00    Roundtable discussion ends

    WHO:      Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada Stéphane Dion and several
              other Liberal MPs
              Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George Smitherman
              Members of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)

    The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario is the professional
association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has
lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice,
increased nurses' contribution to shaping the health-care system, and
influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.

For further information:

For further information: Jill-Marie Burke, Media Relations Coordinator,
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, Work phone: (416) 408-5606, Mobile
phone: (647) 504-4008, Toll-free: 1-800-268-7199 ext.250, E-mail:

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