2015 National Day of Action for a new Health Accord
March 31, 2015
Canadians are proud of our national public health care system, and overwhelmingly want to see it supported and improved. We all understand the need for federal leadership to create a universal drug plan and a national home care strategy, both important pieces missing from our public health system. Unfortunately, in recent years we have not seen this type of leadership from our federal government.
We are sounding the alarm to alert Canadians about the need for federal leadership on public health care. Without a Health Accord access to health care will depend on where you live and you ability to pay. A Health Accord is essential for meeting the heath care needs of all.
What is a Health Accord?
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Take Action On March 31st
Sound the alarm at your events! Bring alarm clocks, bring pots and pans, or ask your local church to ring their bells. March 31st is the National Day of Action for a new Health Accord. Here are some ways you can speak up on this important issue:
Organize an event
Whether it is a gathering of concerned citizens, a prepared talk, a performance or a demonstration – organize an event that is unique to your community to engage on the importance of federal leadership in public health care. You can use this poster to advertise your event, or create your own. Please let us know about your event at email@example.com
Sign the Health Accord Petition
Speak up for federal leadership on health care by signing the Health Accord petition. In one click you can join the over than 40,000 Canadians sending a strong message to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Health, your Member of Parliament as well as all of the party leaders. Make your voice heard.
Provide people with information on the Health Accord and the implications of its expiry, and ask them to take further action. Set up a table in a hospital lobby! Or choose a city block and talk to people on the street. Download our English leaflet here (here for the bilingual version) or design one yourself!
Write a letter to the editor
Write a short piece for your local newspaper – usually these are published in the comment or opinions section.
Letters to the editor have the best chance of being published when they are responding directly to a recent article in the newspaper (within a day or so of the story’s publication) and are written in your own words. Check the website of the paper you are submitting a letter to for writing guidelines. Many papers will indicate their preferred letter length, format, deadlines, etc.
Letters to the editor are usually 150-250 words long (though some smaller community newspapers publish longer letters). Shorter letters often have a better chance of being published.
Even if your letter is not published, the more letters an editor gets on a given topic the better the chances that the newspaper will cover that topic, or at least include a representative sample of letters on the issue. It can be a very worthwhile activity for every member of a chapter to write their own letter in response to a key news story. You can send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper by emailing it to the appropriate person. Please carbon copy (CC) the Canadian Health Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org on any letters you submit by email so that we can track them.
Some points you can highlight include:
- March 31st, 2015 marks one year since the 2004 Health Accord expired. We’re taking part in the National Day of Action because Canada needs a health accord. Federal leadership is essential to secure public health care for all, from infants to seniors.
- The Harper agenda for health care is leading to the fragmentation of services. Increasingly, access to care depends on where you live.
- The Harper agenda for health care will lead to the fragmentation of services. Increasingly, access to care will depend on where you live.
- Since the expiration of the Health Accord, Harper has linked health transfers to economic growth and has cut health care spending by $36 billion over 10 years.
- We’re deeply concerned that failing to renegotiate the Health Accord eliminates any leverage the federal government has to ensure provinces are complying with the Canada Health Act.
- We’re deeply concerned that without a Health Accord any leverage the federal government has to ensure provinces are complying with the Canada Health Act is eliminated.
- Without a Health Accord, federal funds are given to the Premiers with no strings attached. This means provinces and territories can spend the money however they like, often resulting is some provinces having less public coverage of services than others. We’re holding this national day of action to alert Canadians that the federal government let the Health Accord expire in 2014 and has failed to show leadership in health care, cutting $36 billion to health transfers over 10 years.
- The $36 billion cut to health care will make it impossible to know how bad health care conditions in the provinces are getting and will create a pretext for mass privatization.
- We have to take a stand if we want to save public health care in Canada.
Use social media
Use social media to engage journalists, elected officials, and the general public including people in your community.
Post a selfie
Join the movement, post a selfie on social networks using the “I STAND FOR PUBLIC MEDICARE” sign.
- Join our Facebook group. Invite everyone you know and ask them to do the same.
- Like key pages & share content related to the health care campaign.
- Create a local group or page for your chapter if you don’t have one yet.
- On March 31st, change your profile picture this logo.
- Tweet as many photos of people holding the “I Stand for Public Medicare” sign as possible.
- Hashtags: Try to use a variety of twitter hashtags (keywords preceded by the # symbol, which help sort information on Twitter by topic and location), including national and local ones. It’s best to use no more than two hashtags in a given tweet.
- Nationally, key hashtags are #stand4medicare, #cdnhealth, #healthaccord, #cdnpoli and #cdnmedicare.
- Local hashtags will vary widely, depending where you are. Provinces, cities, and communities, generally have local political hashtags in use. Look for those and use them regularly to reach people engaged in local politics and activism. For example, in Ottawa #ott and #ottpoli are used, as is #onpoli for Ontario-related political tweeting.
- Campus and student-related tweets, there are hashtags like #uottawa (University of Ottawa).
- You can also send a Health Accord tweet through the Health Coalition website here.
Join the campaign to save public health care. 12pm tomorrow at City Hall. 4 details http://healthcoalition.ca #cdnhealth #topoli #onpoli #stand4medicare
Don’t let @pmHarper cut $36 billion cut from public health care. Act now to stop him! #cdnhealth #cdnpoli #stand4medicare #healthaccord
@pmHarper’s Fed Conservatives turn their back on #cdnhealth care. Tell your MP to #stand4medicare @healthcoalition #cdnpoli #healthaccord
- Sign up at www.twitter.com and tweet regularly, at least a couple times a day, in the lead up to events you are organizing. Include links to interesting facts and news reports related to your event, and include the link to info about the event whenever possible or to this page.
- Tweets must be less than 140 characters in length (including spaces).
- You can also send a Health Accord tweet through our website here.
Other Social Media Platforms and How-To Guides
Want to build a larger social media presence? For how-to guides for a variety of established and emerging social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Vine, and more, visit here.
Issue a media advisory
Write a brief announcement to get media out to your event (press conference, rally, public forum, information leafleting, etc).
If you choose to notify the media about your event, a media advisory is an important tool to provide journalists with advance notice. You can send media advisories as early as two or three weeks before your event, or as late as a few days before your event, depending on the nature of the media outlets you send it to (weekly publications and monthly magazines need more lead-time, for example).
- It’s important to highlight why the event is newsworthy and provide sufficient advance notice.
- Include the basic details of who, what, when, where and why.
- Be sure to include a contact person with a phone number and email address for journalists seeking more information or interviews. Decide ahead of time who your spokesperson will be. It can be the same person as the contact you list on the advisory, but it doesn’t have to be.
- Follow-up calls play an important role in getting journalists’ attention. Make sure your contact or spokesperson is available when reporters are likely to call or, if you do miss a call, return any messages from journalists as promptly as possible.
- Here is a sample media advisory you can use or adapt:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
[Your community] joins National Day of Action for a new Health Accord and calls for urgent federal leadership
The [who are you] is holding a [rally/public forum/film screening/ press conference] as part of the National Day of Action for a new Health Accord to protect and strengthen public health care. The organizations are [insert latest campaign highlights] in opposition to federal government’s failure to negotiate a new Health Accord and its deep cuts to health care funding.
WHO: The Canadian Health Coalition, you and [any allies involved]. [Include short bios or titles of speakers if applicable.]
WHAT: The groups will call for federal leadership to protect public health care and oppose the Harper government’s $36 billion health care cut by [distributing information, holding an info-picket, holding a press conference, holding a forum/rally/march etc].
WHEN: [time and date]
WHERE: [location, including address]
WHY: The organizations argue that the $36 billion cut to health care creates a pretext for mass privatization. The federal Conservatives’ refusal to negotiate a new health accord lead to the creation of a patchwork and unequal system of health care across the country.
- 30 -For more information, or to arrange an interview in advance, contact:
[INSERT YOUR INFO HERE]
www.healthcoalition.ca | Twitter: @healthcoalition #stand4medicare
Issue a press release
Give reporters the information they need to write a story (and ideally an incentive to call you for further information and/or interviews).
When you write your release keep in mind what makes a story newsworthy: dramatic human interest, controversy, striking visual images, local angles, tie-ins to current & upcoming major events or anniversaries, to name a few. As with media advisories, be sure to include a contact person. These tips will help you get your message across:
- Hooks galore. Press releases work best with a short, catchy headline, and no more than five paragraphs (approximately one page), including quotes, explaining the basic “who, what, where, when, why, and how” of your message. Be sure to let the reporter know if there is a photo opportunity at the event. They may be interested in coming out for this.
- Target your reporter(s). Follow-up calls to reporters or “pitching” can help you get in the news. Reporters often receive dozens of press releases a day and your call can help make your event stand out from the pack. It’s not always easy, though. Take some time before you call to formulate your thoughts. Your best bet is to start by calling reporters you know, or have worked with in the past. If they can’t cover the story, they’ll likely refer you to someone else. If you’re calling reporters you haven’t spoken with in the past, it’s helpful to research the stories they’ve done ahead of time so you are familiar with the topics they focus on.
- Be timely. Send press releases the day of the event. Your aim is to gain attention, and to give the media an idea of what is newsworthy about your story. Do not call reporters when you know they are on deadline. Morning and early afternoon are good times to make pitches. Be sensitive to their moods. If they sound rushed, offer to call back later. If you get the answering machine, leave the basics and call back at a better time.
- Here’s a sample press release you can use or adapt:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2015
[Your community] joins National Day of Action for a new Health Accord
The Canadian Health Coalition [community] and [any allies involved] are [insert details about action or event] as part of the National Day of Action for a new Health Accord to protect and strengthen public health care. The organizations are [insert latest campaign highlights] in opposition to the Harper government’s failure to negotiate a new Health Accord and, instead, the implementation of health care cuts.
“The 2004 accord expired a year ago today which means Canada is no longer ensuring national health care standards across the country,” says [spokesperson #1], with the [group name]. “The Canadian Health Coalition and [any allies involved] are deeply concerned that failing to negotiate a new Health Accord is leading to a fragmentation of our national health care system, meaning access to care will depend on where you live and your ability to pay.”
“Canadians across the country depend on public health care each and every day,” says Canadian Health Coalition National Coordinator Melissa Newitt. “we all expect that quality care be provided to every person regardless of location or ability to pay and without a Health Accord we have lost this guarantee. We’re holding this National Day of Action ahead of the federal election as a wake up call. We must have strong federal leadership on health care.”
The organizations argue that the cuts to health care funding create a pretext for mass privatization. “[Quote from an ally on what will $36 billion cut mean]”, warns the [position, person’s name]. “It’s time for our political leaders to take a strong stand and say no to access to public health care that depends on where you live and your ability to pay.”
-30-For media inquiries:
[INSERT YOUR INFO HERE]
www.healthcoalition.ca | Twitter: @healthcoalition #stand4medicare