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Nurses associations joining Health Coalition in supporting debate

Posted: September 27, 2015

(September 27, 2015)

By Neil Bowen, Sarnia Observer

Wednesday’s scheduled candidates’ debate over health care might not be so much about what the candidates say as about the candidate who has already said she won’t attend.

Sarnia-Lambton Conservative candidate Marilyn Gladu has stated she won’t be attending the meeting, scheduled for Sarnia library auditorium from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Candidates who have said they will be attending are the NDP’s Jason McMichael, the Liberals’ Dave McPhail and the Greens’ Peter Smith.

Shirley Roebuck, of the Sarnia-Lambton Health Coalition, is one of the evening’s organizers. She said with the right to vote comes a responsibility, and voters ought to hear each party’s position on health care.

“It’s an election issue that touches everyone,” said Roebuck.

Earlier this month, Gladu said while she would be attending most of the scheduled candidates’ debates and meetings, she wouldn’t be attending the health care discussion because health care, although partly funded by the federal government, is a provincial issue.

But Roebuck, in a letter to the Sarnia Observer a few days after Gladu’s comments, said the federal government is directly responsible for providing health care services for First Nations peoples, for Canadian veterans, for refugees, for the RCMP and the Canadian Armed Forces.

“The government upholds the Canada Health Act, which guarantees access to health care for all Canadians,” Roebuck wrote. “It has the responsibility of maintenance for the Canada Health Accord, a treaty signed by all of the provinces and the federal government.”

In her letter, Roebuck said the prime minister has refused to meet with the provinces to negotiate a continuation of the Canada Health Accord, which Roebuck said would guarantee a fair funding formula for public health care.”

Also organizing Wednesday’s meeting is Local 19 of the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) and the Sarnia-Lambton Chapter of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO).

Roebuck said Saturday that the three groups coming together on Wednesday shows the importance of the health care issue, especially in light of the Oct. 19 federal election.

She said those who attend the meeting should be able to learn more about the issues and therefore be better informed.

Roebuck said each speaker will have five minutes for opening comments, followed by questions from the floor.

Citizens can also present questions in writing to the moderator prior to the meeting opening.

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