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Peterborough Health Coaltion members can’t bear to see health care privatization

Posted: June 15, 2017

Saturday, June 3, 2017 2:30:32 EDT AM РThe Peterborough Examiner

A giant teddy bear will be downtown Wednesday to warn citizens about health care privatization.

The 7-foot tall “Care Bear” will be outside the Peterborough Downtown Farmers’ Market from 10 a.m. to noon at the Louis St. parking lot.

It’s making an appearance on behalf of the Peterborough Health Coalition and the Ontario Health Coalition.

The coalitions are using the bear to warn the public about the increasing use of for-profit clinics, user fees and extra billings.

Charlene Avon is the Ontario Health Coalition representative for Peterborough.

The coalition works to raise the voices and the concerns of all Canadians to keep medicare universal, affordable and accessible.

Avon said the bear is meant to remind residents to care for medicare.

“There’s been some dialogue about watering it down. And, of course, as Canadians, we don’t want it watered down,” Avon said.

Three years ago, the Ontario Health Coalition publicly challenged the provincial government with a referendum. The government was going to transfer necessary health care services, such eye surgeries, from hospitals to private clinics, where OHIP provides less coverage.

“When it starts going into private clinics, it takes money out of people’s pockets that shouldn’t be,” she said.

The Peterborough area had the highest number of postcards signed, from any region, that were taken to Queen’s Park, Avon said.

Overall, the referendum had an impact in many areas of the province, but there’s still issues in certain places.

With provincial and federal elections coming up, Avon said it’s important to keep medicare top of mind.

“Health care has always been important throughout the country and we just want it to be front and centre.”

JNyznik@postmedia.com

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