Three of Sarnia-Lambton’s four candidates debated health-care issues Wednesday
Posted: September 30, 2015
(September 30, 2015)
By Barbara Simpson, Sarnia Observer
The Harper government’s treatment of veterans came under attack from three of Sarnia-Lambton’s federal candidates Wednesday night.
“If Canada is willing to send our sons and daughters to fight overseas, we better damn well take care of them if they’re lucky enough to come back alive,” NDP candidate Jason McMichael said to a roar of applause from a small crowd gathered at the Sarnia library theatre.
Questions around the Conservative government’s track record with veterans – including its level of financial support for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder – popped up several times during a health-themed all-candidates’ debate Wednesday night.
For Liberal candidate Dave McPhail, the topic hit close to home because a family friend was diagnosed with PTSD following his service in Iraq in 1991.
“We, as a Liberal party, believe the vets deserve better,” he said.
But accusations over the government’s treatment of vets – as well as concerns over its transfer of health dollars to the provinces and the privatization of the health-care system – couldn’t be refuted by Conservative candidate Marilyn Gladu Wednesday night.
Gladu declined an invitation to the debate, telling The Observer earlier this month that health care is mostly a provincial issue.
Shirley Roebuck, of the Sarnia-Lambton Health Coalition, has challenged that position by pointing out the federal government is directly responsible for health-care services for First Nations peoples, Canadian veterans, refugees, the RCMP and the Canadian Armed Forces.
Roebeck helped organize Wednesday’s debate in partnership with the Ontario Nurses Association Local 19 and the Sarnia-Lambton chapter of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario.
“One of the platforms you’re not going to hear from is our Conservative candidate because she didn’t think healthcare was an important enough priority to make time in her schedule to be here,” McMichael said in addressing the absence of Gladu Wednesday night.
Other topics discussed at Wednesday’s health-themed debate include physician-assisted suicide, universal pharmacare, and long-term and home-based care.