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Campaign launched to stop the hospital cuts

Posted: April 25, 2016

(April 25, 2016)

By: Jennifer Hamilton-McCharles, The Nugget

Politicians react to two things – media attention and the power of a ballot.

That was the message from Mike Bisallion, campaign organizer for the Stop Funding Cuts campaign during a news conference Monday at the Ontario Public Service Employees Union hall.

The Ontario Health Coalition is lobbying the public’s support to demand the province stop cuts to health care.

They also want to ensure funding goes to front-line care and vital support services for patients.

Bisallion said one way for the politicians in Toronto to hear the cries and concerns is through a referendum.

Ballot boxes will be scattered throughout the area starting off with the OPSEU union office on Fraser Street. Organizers hope to have boxes stationed at senior and long-term care homes, as well, throughout the North Bay community.

North Bay and Area residents will be asked one question – “The Ontario government must stop the cuts to its community hospital and restore services, funding and staff to meet our community’s needs for care- yes or no.”

The health coalition hopes to secure more than 100,000 votes province-wide, and 20,000 from the North Bay and Area.

Bisallion said it will show the Liberal government how serious voters are when it comes to protecting their health care.

“We’re doing this for our community. Our North Bay hospital has been hit hard,” he said.

The health coalition highlighted some of the massive cuts the North Bay Regional Health Centre has seen over the last three years – $50 million cut over the last three years resulting in cuts to nursing, emergency, cleaning, cataract surgery, psychiatric care and forensic units.

Bisallion said this crisis is the new normal in Ontario hospitals.

He said the hospital isn’t going to provide services then the building will simply become a glorified walk-in clinic.

Natalie Mehr, president of the Ontario Health Coalition, said nobody organizes a referendum with 100,000 votes or more.

“It’s a very grassroots organization, but it captures the attention of the government.”

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