In Brief: Smitherman gets a new radio job

Former Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman has found a new job. Smitherman is filling in for John Tory on Newstalk 1010 in Toronto. The Star reports that sources say Smitherman was offered an opportunity by his former boss Dalton McGuinty to run in the October 6, 2011 election.

NHS Board replaces Sevenpiper as CEO

The Board of the Niagara Health System is replacing Debbie Sevenpifer as CEO of the Niagara Health System. Sevenpiper was a lightning rod through restructuring efforts at the hospital corporation. Under her watch ERs were closed in Fort Erie and Port Colborne, raising the wrath of those communities. The hospital insists the announcement does not mean it plans to reopen the controversial hospital improvement plan. Meanwhile Health Minister Deb Matthews says she has no plans to appoint an investigator into the running of the hospital, something Niagara Falls politicians – including Liberal MPP Kim Craitor – had been asking for. Niagara Falls Council had voted unanimously on Monday to ask for an investigator. NHS is expecting a $3 million deficit this fiscal year, and a $7 million shortfall next year. This is despite significant government bailouts of the hospital. Sevenpifer will be replaced on an interim basis by Sue Matthews, a clinical professor at McMaster University and assistant professor at the University of Toronto.

In a press release from NHS, they described Sevenpifer as taking the hospital through “some of the most turbulent years in the history of health-care in the Niagara region.” No kidding.

 Rural and Northern Panel not dead, just consulting

 After a low key release of their Phase I report, the government’s Panel on Rural and Northern Health Care is touring to hear from local communities. A series of roundtables are taking place from January 24 – 31 in New Liskeard, Burford, Petrolia and Shelbourne. If that doesn’t work out for you, you can make a written submission to the panel or take part in an on-line survey in February.

MPPs Liz Sandals and Rick Johnson are leading the public consultations. For more information go to

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