Health care woes at centre of Windsor protest (GALLERY)
Posted: December 11, 2022
(December 12, 2022)
By: Mark Brown, Windsor NewsToday
Protestors on Tecumseh Road East and Walker Road, Windsor, December 12, 2022. Photo by Mark Brown/WindsorNewsToday.ca.
Residents upset with the current state of healthcare in Ontario took to the streets in Windsor Monday.
Dozens of people, many holding signs or flags, converged on Tecumseh Road East and Walker Road at lunchtime for a protest organized by the Ontario Health Coalition. Other noontime rallies were held Monday in Toronto and Kitchener.
Protestors were calling attention to concerns about the healthcare system, from staff shortages resulting in the periodic closing of emergency departments at hospitals, to delays in ambulance offloading and long waits to see a doctor in emergency rooms.
Shirley Roebuck with the Ontario Health Coalition laid the blame on Queens Park.
“Doug Ford, he made a choice to give millions of dollars, billions of dollars, to his cronies who want to open private health care clinics and private hospitals,” said Roebuck.
In August, soon after being reelected to his second straight majority government, Premier Ford had pledged to overhaul the provincial healthcare system, including possible private investment. While supporters have said privatization will help make care more accessible, detractors have said such a plan could take resources away from the public system.
Alan Warrington, with the Ontario Nurses Association, believed that having private healthcare available across the border is not helping solve the problem.
“In a community like Windsor, where you’re struggling against border healthcare facilities that are pilfering this region’s ability to deliver healthcare within our own government, we might as well be at DMC [Detroit Medical Center],” said Warrington.
Former Essex MP Tracey Ramsey, with the coalition’s Windsor-Essex group, also called attention to recent issues with local paramedics who have been stuck at hospitals waiting to offload patients. This has increased the likelihood of long waits for people who call 911 in situations where every minute counts.
Protestors also spoke out against Bill 124, which limited annual raises for public employees in Ontario to one per cent a year. A court had struck down Bill 124 as unconstitutional, but the Ford government planned to appeal, saying the bill is not violating anybody’s rights to collective bargaining.