Public health care usually ranks at the top of voter priority issues. It is also an issue that politicians are reluctant to talk about during the heat of an election. All three parties carry health care baggage from their time in government.
The Rae NDP government accelerated the privatization of community labs and created Rae days which increased overtime costs in hospitals. The Harris/Eves Tory government froze health care funding and introduce the disastrous policy of competitive bidding to home care. The McGuinty Liberals have closed ERs and pressured hospitals to empty hospital beds without providing sufficient alternate care in the community.
The Liberals and Tories are now promising to reduce health care spending increases to three per cent per year. Tim Hudak wants to eliminate the LHINs but offers no replacement for planning, funding, and community consultation. He also wants to contract out support services in our hospitals. The NDP have yet to reveal their health care platform. All this is taking place as governments prepare for a new age of austerity.
Regardless of the baggage they carry in to the election, voters need to demand a vision of where health care is going from all parties. It’s not just about shovelling funding into the system.
The Ontario Health Coalition is hoping that enough people show up in the streets of Toronto September 13th to send a message that political candidates cannot ignore. During this election we really do want to talk about health care.
The rally to safeguard public health care is being scheduled at Queen’s Park on Tuesday, September 13 at 12 Noon. While most rallies are aimed at the government of the day, this rally is a message to all parties that it is time for improved and equitable access to comprehensive health care across all of our communities.
Health care workers may want to schedule their shifts to be able to come to Toronto on that date. For workers along University Avenue and near Queen’s Park, the rally offers an ability to come out during lunch time and cheer the rally on.
Watch for more details in the coming months.
Meanwhile, please download the attached rally poster and share it with anyone you know who is interested in defending our public Medicare system.