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Votes are counted: Ontario Health Coalition reveals results from informal health care survey

Posted: May 31, 2023

(May 30, 2023)

By: Brent Lale, CTV News London

The Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) said more than 382,000 people voted in their informal survey.

For the past six weeks they’ve been asking Ontarians to vote in person or online on whether they want public hospital services to be privatized to for-profit hospitals and clinics.

“We’d love to see like all 382,000 plus of those [ballots] being poured out onto the front lawn of the legislature,” said Peter Bergmanis, co-chair of the London, Ont. chapter of the OHC.

In response to the Ford government’s implementation of Bill 60, the advocacy group started what they were calling “referendum” on public health care.

In London, the OHC received more than 15,000 physical and online votes, with about two per cent saying they’d be okay with privatization.

At Queen’s Park, Premier Doug Ford dismissed the OHC’s work.

“I don’t call it a referendum, it was a political poll that was driven one sided,” said Ford.

He had his own opinion on how the survey question should have been crafted.

“Do you want to wait in line for a hip replacement that could take 18 months?” asked Ford.

“Or would you like something that could be done in 60 days from the exact same doctor in a surgical clinic, in a centre?”

The OHC believes the Ford government will be forced to listen to the results, or face potential fallout at the ballot box in the next three years.

“He’s got closures of ERs in a lot of Conservative communities,” said Bergmanis. “Minden has never been in the news before and now it is. St. Marys in our own backyard. So I think the Conservatives are very concerned. They wouldn’t actually be pushing back against us so hard if they weren’t concerned.”

The opposition parties will bring the formal tally to the legislature later this week.

“The magnitude of 10,000 in a petition is significant, and this is magnitudes much greater than anything done before,” said Bergmanis.

He added, “We have the people on our side and they know we have the people on our side. This government is now put on notice that they are going to have a heck of a three year journey, if they choose to continue to implement this.”

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