There is a choice

Mar 26, 2018 @ 08:11

The other night I was watching one of the Mike (Make it Right) Holmes television shows in which Holmes was helping a couple who had purchased a home that they believed was in good repair, assured by the seller it would be free from major problems. As you can imagine, the couple were hornswoggled. Too often unscrupulous sellers or ‘home flippers’ just make cosmetic improvements and purposely avoid tackling existing root problems that may be as deep as the foundation itself.

As I sat back and contemplated what Mike Holmes was trying to educate viewers on, it occurred to me that for months now Ontarians have been bombarded with announcements of programs and polices recently pitched by Kathleen Wynne’s government. These announced improvements are akin to the cosmetic improvements that unscrupulous home sellers do to fool home buyers.

Don’t you find it rather puzzling that after being in power for 15 years, all of a sudden the Liberals have ‘seen the light’ and are throwing enormous sums of money into every kind of program under the sun? What have they been doing all this time that Ontarians have been desperately seeking help?

And now that the Conservatives have chosen a ‘backyard wanna-be carpenter’ in Doug Ford as their leader – well, what can I say? Heck, just weeks ago wasn’t he was totally committed to becoming the Mayor of Toronto? Now there’s an example experience and true commitment.

Well, when it comes to healthcare, I can tell you what Kathleen Wynne has been doing. For decades Ontarians have witnessed cuts and budget freezes which have left Ontario hospitals and healthcare workers stretched to the breaking point. Patients are left agonizing in waiting rooms and on stretches in hallways for far too long. Both the Liberals and Conservatives have steered this province into an overcrowding crisis.

Now the Wynne Liberals are scrambling to change the headlines before the coming election. But recent announcements won’t undo over 20 years of damage. Last year Kathleen Wynne shortchanged Ontario hospitals by $300 million, and this year’s announcement shortchanges them by another $100 million. This new funding won’t fix the overcrowding crisis in our hospitals, and it won’t end hallway medicine.

The other day the Liberals announced there will be an additional $822 million investment in Ontario hospitals in 2018-19 — an increase of 4.6 per cent. But Ontarians know that last year the Liberals shortchanged hospitals by $300 million. So even with the 4.6 per cent increase the hospitals will be shortchanged by another $100 million in 2018-19. In fact, according to data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, Ontario’s per capita funding for hospitals is the lowest in the country. When compared to the average of all other provinces, the Government of Ontario spends $389 less per person on hospital care.

Just days ago NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky called out the Wynne government for not providing necessary dental coverage. Without dental care and treatment some peoples’ oral health has deteriorated to the point where they are forced to turn to hospital ERs to deal with dental complications. As an example, Gretzky pointed out that in Windsor, over 700 people visited the hospital emergency department for dental issues last year. The cost for each visit is at least $314. Visiting a hospital for dental pain not only increases wait times and overcrowding, but it’s a major financial burden as well. And almost always the patient receives no medical treatment and are just advised to see a dentist. If they could have afforded a dentist in the first place, they wouldn’t be visiting the hospital today.

New Democrats know that dental care is not only a good social policy, it is a fiscally responsible policy too. In the last 15 years, why didn’t this Liberal government get to the ‘root’ of the dental care issue in Ontario?  And do you foresee Doug Ford using his budget cutting backyard-carpenter’s saw coming through with such programs?

I wonder if we could get Mike Holmes to do a special series before the spring election to help Ontarians look beyond the fresh paint and new curtains the Doug Ford and Kathleen Wynne are proposing.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Ontarians are beginning to realize that they have a choice.

Mike Mantha
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