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Candidates agree on more funding for health care, Windsor Star, May 23, 2018

Posted: May 23, 2018

Candidates agree on more funding for health care

All candidates at a Tuesday night all-candidates meeting agreed health care must be a priority in the upcoming provincial election.

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There seems to be little argument. Health care will be a major issue in the upcoming provincial election.

All nine local candidates at a debate Tuesday night agreed health-care funding needs to increase.

A 5.3 per cent increase to Ontario’s public funding, as recommended by the Ontario Health Coalition, was just one of the four topics discussed at the University of Windsor’s School of Social Work.

About 100 people listened to arguments, anecdotes and discussions during the event All Candidates Meeting on Health Care: Who Wins, Who Loses?

All candidates said they were also in favour of increasing capacity for all health-care services to minimize wait times.

Green Party candidate for Essex, Nancy Pancheshan, participates in the All Candidates Meeting on Healthcare: Who wins? Who loses, at the University of Windsor’s School of Social Work on May 22, 2018. DAX MELMER /WINDSOR STAR

On the issue of the mega-hospital project proposed for County Road 42, candidates were divided on where it should be and whether it should even exist at all, with some suggesting a multiple site system.

“We need and deserve a modern stand-alone hospital,” said NDP incumbent Percy Hatfield (Windsor-Tecumseh). “We don’t need patients shuffled around the city based on individual problems.”

Windsor-West Liberal candidate Rino Bortolin argued for a multi-site plan instead, pushing to keep medical services in downtown Windsor.

Health care is one of the most important issues in this entire election

Both Green party candidates agreed, arguing a need to protect farmland.

The crowd applauded when Nancy Pancheshan (Essex) said she wants to use “existing resources that are there, rather than waste money to tear them down,” and that “money would be better spent getting more bed and nurses [than building a mega-hospital].”

All three liberal candidates supported P3 funding for the proposed mega-hospital, which involves a public-private partnership. Remy Boulbol (Windsor-Tecumseh) argued that a P3 model mitigates risk for taxpayers, and Kate Festeryga (Essex) said that the model allows the public to save money in the long run.

There were four questions posed covering topics of public-private partnership hospital construction, hospital bed numbers, multiple site medical services, and long-term care services. Candidates were informed of the questions in advance.

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Adam Ibrahim, Progressive Conservative candidate for Windsor West, said that he is personally committed to investment in long-term care beds and an increase in front-line physicians. He said health-care providers told his 96-year-old grandfather that he would have to wait at least a year to get into a long-term care home.

According to Philippa von Ziegenweidt, spokesperson for Citizens for an Accountable Mega-hospital Planning Process (CAMPP), the purpose of the debate was to hear each candidate’s plans for the health of Windsor and Essex County.

“Health care is one of the most important issues in this entire election,” said von Ziegenweidt. “Our group of course has been talking about the Mega Hospital for over four years now, so that’s what’s really near and dear to us, but we wanted to talk about broader issues here tonight.”

tcampbell@postmedia.com

Audience members listen as candidates in the June 7 provincial election discuss health care at the All Candidates Meeting on Healthcare: Who wins? Who loses, at the University of Windsor’s School of Social Work on May 22, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR
Audience members listen as candidates in the June 7 provincial election discuss health care at the All Candidates Meeting on Healthcare: Who wins? Who loses, at the University of Windsor’s School of Social Work on May 22, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR
Liberal candidate for Essex, Kate Festeryga, participates in the All Candidates Meeting on Healthcare: Who wins? Who loses, at the University of Windsor’s School of Social Work on May 22, 2018. DAX MELMER / WINDSOR STAR

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