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Advocates say ‘people’s referendum’ results massively against privatization of Ontario health system

Posted: June 1, 2023

The Ontario Health Coalition released its survey results on Wednesday.

(May 31, 2023)

By: Ottawa Citizen

Ninety-eight per cent of people who participated in a cross-province “people’s referendum” voted against privatization of Ontario’s public health services, the Ontario Health Coalition says.

With more vote results still coming in, the coalition said in a news release Wednesday that “no” votes against privatization totalled 378,726 compared to 7,001 “yes” votes in favour, and there were 341 spoiled ballots.

In Ottawa, the tally was 16,639 “no” to 248 “yes.”

“We are unalterably opposed to the gutting and dismantling of our public hospitals and the privatization of them,” Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition, said in the release. “This is the beginning of what will be a relentless campaign to stop them from privatizing our public hospitals. We have no choice because, once we lose them, I don’t know how we will get them back. It will be very difficult, if not impossible, to get them back.

“They can dismiss, make fun, and suppress the actual ability of the people to vote. We know they are worried about this. We have spoken to over a million Ontarians, person to person, in this process. That is the power of this process. One in 29 Ontarians over the age of 16 voted in this referendum. Every Ontarian knows someone who voted in this. If they try to ignore this, we will ratchet it up. We will not stop until they stop.”

The health coalition said the mass community-run referendum gave Ontarians the opportunity to have their say on whether they would like their public hospital services to be privatized to for-profit hospitals and clinics. Ballots were delivered to the provincial government Wednesday, it added.

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