Connect  |  Newsletter  |  Donate

Local referendum results opposing health care privatization being announced Tuesday

Posted: May 30, 2023

(May 29, 2023)

By: Ellwood Shreve, Chatham Daily News

The results of a provincewide referendum regarding a provincial government plan to expand the private delivery of public health care will be announced Tuesday.

Voting stations were set up across the region on Friday and Saturday by a legion of volunteers working for the Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton chapters of the Ontario Health Coalition, which organized the referendum across the province.

The coalition has been raising the alarm about Bill 60 with the provincial government announcing in January it wants to fund privately operated clinics to perform more cataract surgeries, MRI and CT scans, colonoscopies, hip and knee replacements and other procedures.

The government says the move it is clear up backlogs for these procedures, but the health coalition is worried this will lead to further privatization of the public health care system.

The voting station set up at the Rims and Ribs event in Chatham’s Tecumseh Park on Saturday was seeing a decent response.

Anita Rumble, of Chatham, who has been a registered nurse for 24 years, was among those casting a ballot on whether or not she wants the to provincial government to expand the private delivery of health care.

She said privatization is not going to be the answer.

“We need to retain our public health care system so everybody has equal and fair access to a health care system they deserve,” Rumble said.

Asked if she is concerned Canada could move into a United States-style of health care system where the rich can go to the front of the line, she said, “One hundred per cent.”

Rumble said since the COVID-19 pandemic, “We’ve certainly been hit extremely hard in the nursing industry.”

However, she believes the situation is improving and it is important to create more full-time nursing positions to attract people to nursing.

Iris Roebuck and her husband Bob were volunteering at the voting station in Tecumseh Park, which they said had a good turnout.

“It’s a good cause,” Iris Roebuck said of why they decided to get involved. “We’re hoping that we can make a difference.”

The Chatham-Kent Health Coalition will be announcing the local results of the referendum vote at 10 a.m. Tuesday in front of the Wallaceburg hospital campus of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.

Link to original article