It had all the trappings of an election — lawn signs, leaflets, TV commercials, media coverage and an army of volunteers knocking on doors. This vote, however, wasn’t run by any level of government but by a group of citizens opposed to the privatization of a new public rehab and psychiatric hospital planned for Kingston.
The government plan calls not only for the design and building of the new hospital by the private sector, but also adds in a costly 30-year financing deal and long-term maintenance into the package. It is the latter two elements that are controversial and are generating public opposition to the deal. The Kingston Health Coalition estimates developing this new hospital using the discredited public-private partnership model will add $100 million to the cost. That’s $100 million that won’t be applied to other needed public services — including the care provided within the walls of that hospital.
Almost 10,000 Kingston residents came out to vote April 13 on the plan. 96% said yes when asked if they were in favour of keeping the proposed new Kingston rehab/psychiatric hospital entirely public.
While non-binding, the vote sends a clear message to Queen’s Park that Ontarians expect their public infrastructure to remain in public hands.
On April 13th we were there! Watch our video by clicking on the window above.