** The Council of Canadians is a member of the Ontario Health Coalition. Several of our Ontario Chapter activists participated in this event. Thank you to all of those who participated and to Roy Brady for writing this first hand account of the event. We`ll be organizing more of these events across Canada.**
Following the lobby approach used at the 2014 Health Care Accord strategy and public forum in Ottawa last December, scores of Ontario Health Coalition supporters went to Queen’s Park to lobby Ontario’s MPPs in their very offices. The Ontario Budget had substantially reduced the annual increase in health care spending, particularly for hospitals, and indicated a number of changes in delivery which concerned OHC and its chapters. It was high time to educate the MPPs of all three parties about health care needs and policy in Ontario and strike up a dialogue on how to expand public health care without austerity measures. The issues, to start with, were privatization, hospital spending, community health services such as home care and long-term care, and a new funding formula.
All MPPs were contacted and for the most part the visiting advocates met with home and neighbouring MPPs, regardless from which political party. It was quite a different experience meeting within Queen’s Park rather than in constituency offices. The atmosphere was, of course, quite political but within buildings where the power invariably lies. Advocates had the opportunity to to wander and speak to all kinds of officials and share thoughts with so many other supporters. Comparing how the meetings turned out was revealing to all of us.
Ontario Health Coalition thanks all MPPs for their cooperation and, at times, candour. Advocates were very focused throughout the whole afternoon and that paid off with constructive dialogue and excellent opportunities to emphasize OHC priorities. Location, such as in real estate, was so important that day.
Roy Brady, Council of Canadians, Peterborough and Kawarthas and Peterborough Health Coalition