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Price too high to nickel and dime health care: Campion

Posted: April 25, 2016

(April 25, 2016)

By: Allan Benner, The Welland Tribune

People from throughout the province are being asked to send a message to Queen’s Park on May 28.

On that Saturday, the Ontario Health Coalition is asking residents to cast ballots for what it is calling a “referendum” on health care.

 

The effort is aimed at telling the provincial government to stop the cuts to community hospitals and to restore services, funding and staff to meet community health-care needs,” said Niagara Health Coalition member Connie Butler.

 

“We’re holding a provincewide referendum on this issue, and we’re hoping that everyone in the province will vote on this referendum,” the Welland resident said Monday during a rally outside Welland hospital to announce the initiative.

 

Welland Mayor Frank Campion joined coalition members for the announcement.

 

“If you’re trying to nickel and dime, this is not the place to do it,” he said.

 

“The price is far too high to nickel and dime the health-care system. The price is people’s lives, people’s health, people’s ability to get around, quality of life — all those things are part of the health-care system,” Campion said. “If we’re going to start to reduce the expenditure on those things, that’s what’s going to suffer.”

 

Wainfleet Mayor April Jeffs said people remain very concerned about the future of local hospitals, and she welcomed the opportunity to show the provincial government that plans for Niagara hospitals are not acceptable.

 

“I know the model of care is changing, and I understand that. … But we need this (Welland) hospital for all the surrounding communities,” she said.

 

“We hear people say all the time that they feel left out of access to quality care,” Jeffs said, adding the future of the hospital is “very crucial to everybody.”

 

In Niagara, the province’s plans include the closure of hospitals in Welland, Port Colborne, Fort Erie, and Niagara Falls and replacing them a with a single new hospital in Niagara Falls.

 

Coalition member Henry Miron said the provincial government needs to commit adequate funding to hospitals, rather than other expenditures “that aren’t as important as our lives.”

 

Butler said the coalition plans to present the results of its referendum to Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government, hoping that will help ensure provincial representatives will “listen to ordinary Ontarians like us in this group.”

 

She said there will be advance polling as the initiative progresses, giving people more opportunity to cast their ballots.

 

But after May 28, the ballots will be tallied up and the results will be shared publicly and sent to Queen’s Park.

 

Butler said organizers “need lots of volunteers to make this referendum a big event, so it can be taken to Queen’s Park.”

 

People interested in helping can contact the group through Facebook, by e-mailing niagarahealthcoalition@yahoo.com or by calling Miron at 905-735-4999.

 

Details of where people can vote are still in development.

 

ABenner@postmedia.com

 

Coalition question

 

Do you agree that: Ontario’s government must stop the cuts to our community hospitals and restore services, funding and staff to meet our communities’ needs for care?

Yes or No

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