DEFENDING AND EXPANDING PUBLIC HEALTH CARE
Posted: May 5, 2023
(May 4, 2023)
By: The Council of Canadians
In another broken promise from the Ford government, the administration moved ahead with their plan to privatize diagnostic and surgical procedures. Council of Canadians’ chapters have been working closely with local members of the Ontario Health Coalition to oppose the latest attempt to dismantle our public health system through Bill 60 and the announced millions of dollars in transfer payments to private clinics. Having been this fight for decades, the chapters understand that the latest health care crisis is many years in the making. The Ford government followed a classic playbook: to defund public health care, let services deteriorate to a critical level, then introduce privatization as a solution. The Ford government is sitting on over $2 billion in budget surplus, yet it has frozen funding to public health and continues to try to depress health care workers’ wages through Bill 124, which was recently ruled unconstitutional.
Chapters and the Council of Canadians joined the province-wide efforts to educate the public about the threat privatization poses to our health care system, and the solutions we already have. Chapters attended rallies in Ottawa, Toronto, Waterloo, and Windsor, and joined the Ontario Nurses Association on their picket lines calling for fair wages for health care workers. The London chapter hosted Natalie Mehra, Executive Director of the Ontario Health Coalition, at their AGM. In February, as the premiers met in Ottawa to discuss health care, the chapter helped organize and attended the rally against privatization and in support of pharmacare.
Chapters in Windsor, London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton, Peterborough, and Ottawa are supporting the Ontario Health Coalition’s citizen-led referendum on privatization of public hospitals. From building connections with key allies to arranging the logistics for the referendum on May 26-27, the chapters are busy working in their community to secure a million votes rejecting privatization.
We understand that defending the public health system and expanding medicare must go hand in hand. This spring the Council of Canadians launched the campaign for Public Pharmacare Now, and local chapters are playing a key role in building public support and bringing the fight for pharmacare to every city and town. The Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Hamilton, Guelph, Ottawa, Northumberland, and Kingston chapters have been hard at work organizing local pharmacare town halls in their communities. Stay tuned for information about a town hall near you.