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An opportunity for Ellis to make an impression

Posted: October 27, 2015

(October 27, 2015)

By Ernst Kuglin, The Intelligencer/Trentonian

John Smylie said given the overwhelming demand for political change, he doubts he could have retained the Bay of Quinte Riding for the Conservatives in last week’s federal election.

Quite the admission from the popular businessman and philanthropist, but a pragmatic one nonetheless.

Besides the overwhelming disdain for Stephen Harper and his Conservatives, there’s the fact that every government has a past due date, and since Harper and gang had nothing new to offer voters in the way of a vision the writing was on the wall.

Former Quinte West Mayor John Williams decided in early 2014 he wasn’t going to run. He admitted the Tories had courted him, but politely say no thanks. Williams is likely relieved he didn’t seek the nomination and maybe didn’t want to run the risk of getting clobbered at the polls like he did against former MPP Ernie Parsons when he ran provincially.

Thankfully, it’s all political history now and a sulking Jodie Jenkins is left looking at his options. Maybe Jenkins should join the ministry, he’s awfully good at towing around baggage – at least the political kind.

Despite what may or may not have been, Quinte West still has Smylie in its back pocket. We need Smylie here to carry on the fight to wrestle back control of Trenton Memorial Hospital.

That leaves us with Liberal Neil Ellis, who’s about to get an education – at least at MP school.

Fresh from an impressive election victory, there’s a perfect opportunity for Ellis to make an immediate and positive impact on the new riding, and that’s to push the veteran’s care centre file at Trenton Memorial Hospital.

The Liberals made a big deal about veteran’s care during the campaign, promising to open two veteran’s care centres. The big announcement was made early on in the campaign during a stop in Belleville.

Members of Our TMH met with Justin Trudeau to outline their proposals for the hospital.

During the campaign Trudeau also promised to improve relations with the provinces. If that’s the case, there’s no better place to start than to set up a meeting between the feds and the Ontario government to figure out a plan, one that would include funding for a centre.

Naturally, it would involve some creative outside the box thinking, something that has been woefully lacking when it comes to local decision making by the bureaucrats at Quinte Health Care and the LHIN.

Trenton Memorial is now on life support. The QHC is continuing to gut the hospital. Surgery is all but gone. Inpatients beds are being whittled down and replaced by continuing complex care beds.

And if you believe Ontario Health Coalition executive director Natalie Mehra (why would we not), it’s only a matter of time before the provincial government, QHC and the LHIN cuts services at TMH even further, reducing it to nothing more than glorified medical arts building. Mehra said after surgical services get whacked, the next step is to cut more in-patient beds, scrap diagnostics and then reduce the ER to nothing more than an urgent care centre. The process, she said, is being carried out at other amalgamated health care institutions across the province.

The schmucks at QHC can pay all the lip service they want to the local community saying the hospital has even more beds, but don’t buy any of it. The public engagement process in nothing but a scam. These over-paid schemers had a plan in place long before the engagement process concluded and long before the health services advisory completed its final report.

The real joke, of course, is the fact there were senior QHC staffers on the health services advisory committee. So while they pretended to plan the future of health service delivery Brighton and Quinte West, they drove back to QHC headquarters and continued worked on a cost-cutting plan that will in the near future, hammer a final nail in the TMH coffin.

The entire process over the past six or seven months has left the community confused, disappointed and frustrated.

Residents, hospital staff, opposition MPPs, and city councillors are getting more pissed by the day. Who can blame them.

Make a point of attending the Health Coalition and Our TMH rally on Nov. 13. There’s a lot at stake.

As for MP elect Ellis, he has a golden opportunity to make a big splash. The community won’t let him forget it any time soon. Time to ‘kick-on.’

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