Coalition Warns Ford Government Against Using Gordon Campbell’s Fiscal Review as a Set Up to Create a Crisis & Privatize

‘Don’t try to play the same script as happened in British Columbia under Campbell’s Government that resulted in one of the worst attacks on public health care in Canada’s history’

TORONTO, Sept. 20, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Hon. Vic Fedeli’s speech at the Economics Club tomorrow morning will reveal the contents of Gordon Campbell’s fiscal review.

“The Ontario Health Coalition expects that amid the hand-wringing, without even considering the option of cancelling the tax cuts for the wealthy or raising revenues to ensure that needed public services are protected for Ontarians, we will be subjected to yet another attempt to sell the public on the same tired formula of “change management” we have been through before in which they create a “crisis” in order to soften up the public for cuts and privatization,” said Ontario Health Coalition Executive Director Natalie Mehra.

“The appointment of Gordon Campbell deserves more public scrutiny than it has been afforded to date,” said Natalie Mehra. “Campbell is an arch-privatizer, enemy of public health care, and fomenter of fiscal-crisis driven cuts and roll backs of progressive policy in his province. First, he claimed he was elected to bring fiscal prudence to the province, even though he inherited a surplus, then he made staggering cuts to public services across the board which he termed as “thoughtful” and “innovative”. 

Under Campbell, British Columbia fell into a deficit and increased its debt significantly, while tax cuts that benefited the rich.

Many have reported that he turned a blind eye as private hospitals (called clinics) charged user fees in the thousands of dollars to sick and elderly patients in violation of Canada’s Public Medicare laws that prohibit such charges to patients in need, acting only when absolutely forced to do so by patients who were charged thousands of dollars for needed surgeries.

“A couple of months ago, Campbell signed an affidavit to help private clinics in their attempt to bring down public medicare and usher in two-tier medicare,” said Mehra.  “This is the man whom Doug Ford has brought in to do the so called Financial Inquiry in Ontario and like Ford, Campbell never mentioned in the election his planned fiscal crisis and massive cuts and privatization regime.”

September 6, Health Minister Christine Elliott’s comments and a speech to the Ontario Hospital Association were reminiscent of Gordon Campbell’s public messages. She said the Ford government was elected to bring financial order to Ontario, that they are going to make tough decisions, be innovative, and find “efficiencies”.

The cuts have already started. Programs and services that would have created equity and improved living standards for the middle class and lower income Ontarians have come under Ford’s axe.

This summer, the Ford government made multiple announcements per day, systematically cutting and rolling back the progressive reforms and funding improvements that were in the 2018 provincial budget. In health care, OHIP+ was cut, promised mental health funding increase was cut by $380 million. In poverty-reduction, social assistance was cut in real-dollar terms and the basic income pilot project was cancelled.

“We are warning the Ford government that Ontarians have no appetite for cuts, hospital mega-mergers and restructuring, privatization, or further downsizing vital care staff. We will not fall for sugar coating the attack on public health care under a rubric of “efficiencies”. We have been through this too many times before and the support for protecting our local public health care services is deep and crosses all party lines. There is no mandate for cuts and we will fight any attempt to attack public health care,” said Mehra.

For more information: Dana Boettger, Communications Manager (416) 441-2502 (office) or Natalie Mehra (416) 230-6402 (cell).

Background

To read the Ontario Health Coalition analysis of Gordon Campbell’s record on health care, click here

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