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London chapter organizes to ‘Save Our Local Hospitals’

The London chapter of the Council of Canadians is participating in a province-wide campaign opposing the provincial government’s plans to contract out of health care services. They are helping to organize a referendum on this issue that will take place on Saturday April 5.

An Ontario Health Coalition media release yesterday notes, “More than a thousand volunteers will be going door-to-door starting today to ask Ontarians to vote in volunteer-led referendum to save our local public hospitals.

Voting stations to be set up across Ontario… (This is happening because) the provincial government passed two new regulations to enable it to cut and privatize public hospital clinical services. The government has never brought the issue to the Ontario Legislature for a vote and Ontario voters have never given the government a mandate to cut and privatize care from Ontario’s Public Hospitals. Regardless, the government has issued guidelines for proposals to Local Health Integration Networks to begin the process of cutting and contracting out the services. They plan to finalize contracts by mid-summer.”

The London Community News reports, “The campaign to ‘save community hospitals’ will run until the end of the month. The group is calling on London residents to vote at the ballot box at the downtown office, a community-wide ‘referendum’ is planned for April 5. In the meantime they’ll be drumming up support in libraries, senior’s centres and other community hubs and handing out flyers door-to-door. The ballot offers two choices: ‘I support our local public hospitals. I do not want the government to cut their services or contract them out to private clinics’ or ‘I support cutting services from our local public hospitals or contracting them out to private clinics.'”

Roberta Cory, the chair of the London chapter of the Council of Canadians, says, “This is a social justice issue. We don’t want a huge difference between what the elite and healthy and everyone else gets. We need health care that is accessible in the community that you can get to on the bus.”

The article also highlights, “Jennifer Chesnut, chair of another group associated with the Council of Canadians called Trade Justice London, said the defunding of hospitals is more alarming in the context of the Canada-Europe Trade Agreement (CETA), which the federal government and European Union are hammering out behind closed doors. ‘We’re seeing hospital funding taken away as part of a broader trade deal’, she said. ‘This is a really important moment in our history in Ontario and across Canada.'”

For more on this, please see here.