Coalition forums continue this week in Kingston, Cornwall and Ottawa

Dennis Howlett, coordinator of Canadians for Tax Fairness, will be at all three public health care forums this week in Eastern Ontario. The forums are hosted by the Ontario Health Coalition.

Given the focus on debt, deficit and public sector job cuts, much of the media coverage has overlooked the impact of the provincial budget on Ontario’s health care system. The March provincial budget slowed funding further than most had predicted, leading to concerns about longer waits, crowded ERs and the delisting of some health services.

As coordinator of CFTF, Howlett is building a national campaign to promote fair taxation. CFTF believes the tax system should be reformed to fund the comprehensive, high-quality network of public services and programs required to meet our social, economic and environmental needs in the 21st century.

Howlett has been a leader of many justice, environmental and anti-poverty campaigns internationally and domestically, including serving as national coordinator for “Make Poverty History.”

Queen’s University law professor Kathleen Lahey joins Howlett in Kingston Wednesday night. Lahey has written extensively on tax, fiscal, gender, sexuality and equality issues, including the impact of tax policy on gender inequality.

Two OPSEU speakers will be on the panels this week, Sara Labelle appearing in Kingston and Marlene Rivier in Ottawa.

Labelle is the Chair of OPSEU’s Health Care Divisional Council, Chair of the Hospital Professionals Division, and a member of the union’s board. Labelle is a medical laboratory technologist at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa.

Marlene Rivier is president of OPSEU Local 474, Royal Ottawa Health Group. Rivier also serves as Chair of the Ottawa Health Coalition and has written two reports on the experience of workers at her hospital, the first to open as a public-private partnership in Canada.

Author, activist and RN Ross Sutherland will be appearing in Cornwall and Ottawa. Sutherland is the author of False Positive: Private Profit in Canada’s Medical Laboratories. He also sits as the Community Co-Chair of the Ontario Health Coalition.

Natalie Mehra, Director of the Ontario Health Coalition, will also be on the panel at all three locations this week. The Ontario Health Coalition is made up of more than 400 community organizations across the province.

Also on the panels this week is Ann Clark, a vice-president with the Ontario Nurses’ Association (Cornwall, Ottawa) and Michael Hurley, president of OCHU/CUPE (Kingston).

Admission is free.

Wednesday, May 23 / 7 pm
Regiopolis-Notre Dame Catholic High School Cafetorium, 130 Russell St.

Thursday, May 24 / 7 pm
Navy Veteran’s Club, 30 6th Street East

Saturday, May 26 / 1 pm
Ottawa Public Library, Auditorium, 120 Metcalfe St.

Read about Peterborough’s forum May 17 here.

Read about Oshawa’s forum May 15 here.

Looking for other forums coming to a community near you? Click here.

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