It’s astounding that our authoritarian Liberal Health Minister George Smitherman refuses to acknowledge the failure which his health system has become under his watch. As James Wallace outlined in his St.Catharines Standard column, "69% say healthcare hasn't improved under Grits:poll" (Sept.17, 2007), Liberal healthcare spending, since 2003, “hasn’t translated into perceived results”. Let’s not forget that this is despite the fact that federal Liberals dumped $40 billion into health several years ago; and that Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty raked Ontarians for another $3 billion a year health-tax as well.
But, after four years of suffering under Smitherman, who once said that Ontario doesn’t even have a health system (Welland Tribune, Aug.11, 2005), and admitted “we don’t actually know exactly what we’re buying,” (St. Catharines Standard, Aug.8, 2005), things haven’t improved.
“The symptoms say health care is ailing” said the Standard’s editorial (Sept.19, 2007), yet what we repeatedly get from the Liberals in response is the same old failed ideological healthcare rhetoric. The Standard pointed out that Niagara has more seniors than any other 905 area, but that we’re also on the short end of a $1 billion funding gap. Yet, what has St.Catharines Liberal MPP Jim Bradley - who is the Minister for Seniors - done about this locally? He had over four years as a minister in a majority government to do better. Prisoners have a higher food allowance than Ontario seniors in long-term care. Bradley promised (Niagara News, Nov.23, 2005) that new Community Health Centres would be built throughout Niagara by 2007. Where are they? Finally, after 30 years of Bradley being in office, we might even have a hospital built; one which should have been built years ago.
We’re supposedly awash in tax-cash in our socialized medicare system, yet still, even high-profile Liberal defenders of medicare like MP Belinda Stronach must leave Canada to obtain healthcare in the U.S. which Smitherman’s system fails to provide in Ontario. This situation has become more than merely anecdotal – the Liberals have shown a steady pattern in creating a disturbing new export market: outsourcing Ontario patients to the States.
We heard McGuinty (Globe and Mail, Sept.26, 2003) bleat: “I stand against the Americanization of our hospitals” (whatever that means); and then we saw, when St. Catharines resident Suzanne Aucoin needed cancer treatment, McGuinty and Co. stood by and did nothing, while she was forced to obtain her treatment in America! We even saw Smitherman falling over himself rushing to the border to prevent American technology services from entering the province! Smitherman has demonstrated an obvious deference to ideology over patient health – a scary attribute indeed for a health minister whose own ombudsman, Andre Marin, called Liberal-run health care a “cruel game”.
It’s time for change on this upcoming Oct.10 provincial election. Let’s also work for change before the courts finally rule on the constitutionality of how healthcare is run in Ontario.