Sean Meagher (ED of Canadian Doctors for Medicare) and lawyer Steven Shrybman discuss the potential threat to Canadian Medicare by the Charter challenge in the BC Supreme Court.
They had to dodge a marathon to get there, but it was worth it.
Participants at this weekend’s Ontario Health Coalition Action Assembly were in a buoyant mood despite the many challenges facing the health system.
Rather than finding defeat, activists took heart that Canadians still feel strongly about public Medicare despite a much more well-funded opposition from business elites.
The delegates crammed into a modest community centre gym where getting to a speaker’s microphone was at times a logistical challenge. It wasn’t lost on anyone that this low-budget grassroots organization was having a significant impact in defending our public health system as Director Natalie Mehra listed off successes the coalition has achieved over the past year.
“If the public was not with us Medicare would have been gone a long time ago,” said Doris Grinspun, CEO of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, who participated in a panel looking at how we push back.
Grinspun warned that “medical tourism” threatened to bring an end to the single tier system. If Ontario hospitals were selling a ticket to the front of the line to international patients with money, it was only a matter of time before rich Ontarians demanded the same right. That principle is what is keeping the RNAO fighting so hard on this issue.
Well that was quick.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath told the media this morning that she cannot support the Wynne budget, or more specifically, the Wynne government.
Horwath’s remarks suggested it wasn’t so much about the content of yesterday’s budget, but about trust in the present government.
A June 12 provincial election has now been set.
Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli told the Ottawa Citizen this morning “this budget is our platform for the next 30 days.”
The Liberals wasted no time in going on the attack, revealing their strategy to brand PC Leader Tim Hudak as representing the values of the U.S. Tea Party and accusing Horwath of bringing “zero policy forward.”
Horwath noted that the Wynne government had not delivered on past promises, including fixing home care and establishing a Financial Accountability Office.
Yesterday OPSEU President Warren Smokey Thomas had called upon Horwath to pull the plug on the two-and-a-half year-old minority government, calling the spring budget a “wholesale transfer of wealth from the public to the corporate sector.”
Doris Grinspun, the executive director of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) has been a tireless defender of public not-for-profit health care. We’ve seen her speak truth to power at numerous conferences and public events. When she advocates on behalf of the RNAO, she speaks plainly and passionately.
Last month the RNAO released its submission to the government on Ontario’s seniors care strategy.
The document is full of good recommendations, from strong staffing standards in long-term care homes to a broadening of the policy lens to include government’s impact on the social determinants of health.
The biggest surprise, coming out during the same month as the Hudak health care platform, is the RNAO’s recommendation that the Community Care Access Centres be scrapped and the work be redistributed to the Local Health Integration Networks and to primary care providers, such as family health teams, community health centres and nurse practitioner-led clinics.
September 10 Doris Grinspun, executive director of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, tweeted that Health Minister Deb Matthews had just announced to a nursing meeting that the moratorium on competitive bidding in home care would be made permanent. No formal confirmation of this announcement has been made by the Ministry of Health.
No services competition has successfully taken place since 2004 when then Health Minister George Smitherman announced the appointment of Elinor Caplan to conduct a review into the competitive bidding process.
The Caplan review followed months of campaigning in the Niagara region after the Victorian Order of Nurses had lost the local home care nursing contract during its centenary in the community. OPSEU-represented VON members had met with MPPs up and down the Niagara peninsula to point out problems with the competition.
The union complained that the bidding process had been tainted by the then Niagara CCAC administrator who told at least one patient in advance of the competition that VON would not be a successful bidder.