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Ontarians travelling in from dozens of communities for giant rally to protect public health care

Posted: May 15, 2019

Source: Ontario Health Coalition

TORONTO, April 25, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — It is shaping up to be one of the largest public rallies at Queen’s Park since the Ford government took power. It will be held next Tuesday, April 30 at Queen’s Park. Ontarians from towns and cities across the province are heading to the Ontario Legislature to stop health care cuts, privatization and mega-mergers that threaten care. Patients have been contacting OHC offices and local coalitions in record numbers, concerned about half-a-billion dollars in leaked OHIP cuts impacting diabetes and pain management services, colonoscopies and other services that are a lifeline for many.  At the protest will be cancer survivors’ networks concerned about the dismantling of Cancer Care Ontario, chronic pain patients frightened about closed pain clinics and cuts to pain shots, Crohns and Colitis patients concerned about cuts to colonoscopy and other services, diabetes patients and care workers concerned about proposed cuts to diabetes management, parents and workers concerned about autism cuts and privatization, Municipal Councillors concerned about deep cuts to Public Health Units, health care unions concerned about cuts and protecting public medicare, paramedics concerned about the dismantling of local ambulance services, hospital workers, nurses, doctors, local health coalitions and “save our hospital” groups concerned about massive restructuring and privatization, organ donation recipients concerned about the dismantling of the Trillium organ donation system, long-term care family councils concerned about declining care levels, patient advocates, and many many others. They are flying and busing in to Toronto from as far away as Thunder Bay and Kenora. Thousands are expected to join them from the City of Toronto.

The Coalition is on its highest alert, building a mass movement and readying itself to defend public and non-profit health care services from for-profit privatization, stop cuts and closures of local hospitals and care services in the light of plans to force all health care services into mega-mergers, and stop draconian budget cuts to services.  Virtually every day new health care cuts and privatization plans are announced or leaked. The Ford government has no mandate for any of this, having promised to improve health care, not engage in the most radical restructuring and cuts to local services our province has ever seen.

The Coalition released details of plans for the rally to the media today as follows:

MAIN RALLY AT QUEEN’S PARK TORONTO:

What:  Mass Rally of thousands of people.

When:  Tuesday, April 30, at 12:00 p.m.  Note: There will be a march up University Avenue starting at Sick Kids Hospital shortly after noon as the main crowd is gathering on the lawn at Queen’s Park.

Where: Queen’s Park, in front of the Main Legislative Building, Toronto.

Who: The Ontario Health Coalition represents more than half-a-million Ontarians in a network of more than 400 member organizations and more than 50 local chapters. The Coalition is made up of patient groups, seniors’ organizations, unions representing health care workers and private sector workers, health professionals, doctors, nurses, cultural organizations, women’s groups, anti-poverty and social justice groups, ecumenical and faith organizations, municipalities, businesses, non-profit health and social services and many more.

LOCAL MEDIA OPPORTUNITY ACROSS ONTARIO:

In each major town between 50 and 350 people are getting on buses to come to the big health care rally at the Ontario Legislature. Local media is invited to join the trip and/or to interview local participants as they embark on the buses. Note: the times listed here are departure times. Please arrive 15 minute prior for interviews.  We will be sending out an updated list with more buses tomorrow. We expect up to 150 buses to be coming for the rally.

Brampton Bramrose Square 295 Queen St. E, S W corner, 410 & Queen St, 11:00 am, Richard Antonio 647-237-5135
Chatham Bloomfield Exit at the 401, 7:30 am, Shirley Roebuck 226-402-2724
Grimsby GO Bus Stop South Service Rd at Casablanca Blvd, 10:00 am, Sue Hotte 905-932-1646
Guelph University of Guelph, University Centre, 9:00 am, Laura Maclure 519-400-4655
Hamilton Centre Mall near Beer Store, 10:00 am, Janina Lebon 905-545-5514
Kawartha Lakes/Lindsay Lindsay Square at Kent St, 9:30 am, Bonnie Kennedy 705-738-2617
Kingston Toys R Us 1020 Midland Ave, 7:30 am, Matthew Gventer 613-542-5834
Kitchener/Waterloo Waterloo Town Sq King St & Willis Way, 9:30 am, Jim Stewart 519-588-5841, Riani De Wit 226-606-1623
London Masonville Mall, south west corner, 8:30 am, Jeff Hanks 226-448-3067
Midland North Simcoe Sports & Rec. 527 Len Self Blvd, 9:00 am, Fran Moreau 705-355-7611 Don Copping 705-549-0366
Northumberland Hwy 28 and Hwy 401, Near Harvey’s Swiss Challet9:45 am, Linda Mackenzie-Nicholas 905-885-9942
Oakville UNIFOR Local 707 475 North Service Rd E, look for Galaxy board sign, 10:15 am, Mervyn Russell 905-845-3250
Oshawa 1425 Phillip Murray Ave, 10:30 am, Charlie Courneyea 416-557-5935
Ottawa East End at 1055 St. Laurent Blvd 5:45 am and West end IKEA 6:00 am, Stuart Ryan 613-882-7108
Oxford Highway 19 & 401, 9:10 am, Bryan Smith 519-456-5270
Peterborough Canoe Museum 910 Monaghan Rd, 9:00 am, Roy Brady 705-745-2446, Charlene Avon 705-761-4408
Sarnia UNIFOR Building Devine St and Indian Rd, 7:30 am, Shirley Roebuck 226-402-2724
Sault Ste. Marie Moose Lodge parking lot, 3:00 am
St. Catharines GO Bus Stop at Fairview Mall 9:30 am Sue Hotte 905-932-1646
Stratford Festival Mall Market by Tim Hortons, 9:15 am Treena Hollingworth 647-537-4357
Sudbury York Street across from Bell Park Amphitheater, 6:45 am Melissa Wood 705-662-8506
Wallaceburg Tim Hortons 60 McNaughton St, 8:15 am Shirley Roebuck 226-402-2724
Welland Welland Market 70 Young St, 9:00 am, Sue Hotte 905-932-1646
Windsor 3400 Somme Ave, 7:15 am, Brian Hogan 226-348-7597

For more information: Devorah Goldberg, research and campaigns director 416-441-2502(w) 647-631-8811(c);
Natalie Mehra, executive director, Ontario Health Coalition 416-230-6402 (c).

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