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No mandate

Posted: March 3, 2023

(March 2, 2023)

By: Elaine Macdonald, Cornwall Standard-Freeholder

With a long and storied history, the Cornwall Community Hospital is civic treasure, a most valuable public asset owned by the 110,000 people in its catchment area.

In 2014, the community of Cornwall, SDG, and Akwesasne wrapped up a $12-million fundraising drive to redevelop the Cornwall Community Hospital and the fundraising continues. People continue to give, as they will this weekend, generously and spectacularly at the Aultsville Theatre.

The government is not keeping pace.

Today, barely 10 years after that massive fundraising drive, austerity policies on the part of the provincial government challenge the hospital’s ability to fulfil its mandate. All over Ontario, operating rooms and emergency wards are closed for lack of staff members.

What is the government’s response? Instead of reinvesting in and strengthen public health care, the government proposes to develop a cadre of private, for-profit clinics.

If it is successful in that intent, the hospital may lose public funds – taxpayers’dollars – that would follow the patients into for-profit clinics, gradually hollowing out public hospitals.

This intent breaks trust with those who gave so generously to ensure the community hospital would be a stateof-the-art facility, capable of serving all-comers. It breaks faith with those who count on government to maintain a balance between the privateers and profiteers on one side and the people on the other.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Our hospitals are not for sale. We can stop this. Rampant privatization and profiteering of hospital services were not election issues and Doug Ford has no mandate to advance them.

I urge you to send this message to Queen’s Park: re-invest in the public system that is here for everyone.

Cornwall chapter co-chair Ontario Health Coalition

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