QUEEN'S PARK - Marit Stiles, Leader of the Official Opposition, and France Gélinas (Nickel Belt), NDP Health Critic, provided the following statement after the Ford Conservatives passed Bill 60 - their plan to bring in private, two-tier health care:
"I am very concerned about what this Bill means for the future of Ontario," said Stiles. "The Conservatives lied to the people of this province. Bill 60 is not the answer to our healthcare crisis. Ford's Conservatives helped create this staffing crisis in our healthcare system, and now, they want you to believe private, two-tier is the solution.”
Members from the Ontario Nurses Association, CUPE Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, and the Ontario Health Coalition watched the vote unfold from the Queen’s Park Gallery, hoping the government would backtrack on their privatization plan. But, instead, the Ford Conservatives ploughed ahead with their plan which threatens to destroy Ontario's treasured public system.
Weeks ago, the NDP tabled 74 amendments to Bill 60 designed to keep profits out of health care, protect the safety of patients, ensure fairness for healthcare workers, and increase transparency and accountability. Ford's Conservatives voted against every single one.
“The consequences of the Conservatives’ plan will be dire for all Ontarians,” said Gélinas. “Those who can afford it will jump the queue, leaving everyone else waiting even longer for care. More health workers will be driven out of the public system, and more emergency rooms will be closed. This is only about profit."
Stiles and the Ontario NDP have proposed fresh solutions that could be implemented today to fix the staffing crisis, reopen emergency rooms and operating rooms, and get people the care they need.
"We are the party of universal healthcare," said Stiles. "Ontarians deserve fast, quality care in every corner of the province. Care needs to be based on needs rather than the ability to pay. This is not over. Ontarians are going to have their concerns heard, whether today or at the next election."
Natalie Mehra, Ontario Health Coalition:
"Bill 60 is the Ford government's law to facilitate the privatization of our public hospitals. It is completely undemocratic. No Ontarian was given the opportunity to vote on whether they would elect a government that would gut the core services out of our public hospitals and transplant them to profit-seeking corporations. If the Ford government uses its majority to force through Bill 60 on Monday, it will not be the end. It will be the beginning of a fightback the like of which our province has never seen."
Michael Hurley, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions:
“Bill 60 welcomes private surgical centres with higher death rates and much higher costs, to undermine our public hospitals. Private surgical centres steal scarce staff away from public hospitals and skim the less complex medical procedures that sustain many rural hospitals. Ideology is the only explanation for moving hundreds of millions of dollars away from our hospitals to private delivery. This is a battle we must win.”
Erin Ariss, RN, President of the Ontario Nurses’ Association:
“Nurses and health-care professionals across the province witness first-hand how private health care, whether in long-term care or in-home care, is an absolute failure for Ontarians. Privatization of hospital surgeries will worsen staffing issues and decrease access to public hospitals. The solution is to fund our ORs in public hospitals with extended hours and pay hospital nurses and healthcare workers fair wages.”