"Kim Craitor is a pretty optimistic guy.So it's no surprise when the Niagara Falls Liberal MPP says he's looking forward to 2012 and helping to make life better for his constituents and all Ontarians.
But the next 12 months will be different for Craitor. It will be his first full year in a minority parliament. He, and his government, are used to having the majority of power since 2003, when Craitor, and the Liberals, were elected to government. Now, he and his Liberal colleagues have to share.
No problem, he said.
"I am quite excited about working with a minority government. So far, I've heard words like 'partnership,' more than ever before. And you know my philosophy: 'People come first.'"
Craitor said along with working with Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats at Queen's Park, two of his other priorities in 2012 will be to help get the province's financial situation "in order," and to continue improving the lines of communication between the public and the Niagara Health System.
"With a minority government, the structure of parliament has changed," said Craitor. "Private member's bills, which I am a big supporter of, will now play a more significant role in parliament. The other two parties will actually have the majority, so bills will be decided by all three parties, not just one."
He said the government will have to make some "tough decisions" if it wants to start shedding its $16-billion deficit.
"All programs have to be out there. We'll have to make tough decisions on what we really need versus the nice things to do, but that the taxpayers can't afford anymore. You can't spend what you don't have."
Craitor said since the government appointed Kevin Smith supervisor of the embattled Niagara Health System in August, patient and public confidence in the local hospital corporation has started to improve.
"The lines of communication at the NHS have opened. Patient complaints are immediately being responded to. The NHS is ensuring people in the media are getting the information they need in a timely fashion. I know in my conversations with Kevin Smith, everything is on the table. He is taking a fresh look at things. It's encouraging."
As for the health-care model across Ontario, Craitor is not as optimistic.The Ontario government runs a $124-billion a year operation with $47 billion going to health and long-term care.
"Financially, it's at a breaking point," said Craitor.
He pointed to a recent report issued by Ontario Auditor General Jim McCarter, which, among other things, indicated a significant discrepancy between the money being pumped into health care, including salaries, and the care patients are receiving.
"We're spending a lot of money on health care, but we're not measuring whether patients are being cared for properly," said Craitor. "So, we're spending more and more, but what are we getting? When it comes to the delivery of health care, we've kind of done it backwards. We need to start putting patients at the front end. Patient care has to come first.""
Amazing, eh, to hear all this faux-sincerity from a Liberal! It is Craitor's sincerity which is literally "at a breaking point", with all his new-found talk about making "tough decisions" on what "we really need versus the nice things to do, but that the taxpayers can't afford anymore. You can't spend what you don't have."
Yes, yes: this is a McGuinty-Liberal [not "harris"!!!!!] saying this; mind you, a Liberal saying it, conveniently after an election!
"We're spending a lot of money on health care, but we're not measuring whether patients are being cared for properly," said Craitor. "So, we're spending more and more, but what are we getting? When it comes to the delivery of health care, we've kind of done it backwards. We need to start putting patients at the front end. Patient care has to come first."
Welcome to the Bizarro land of Craitorian Liberal politics; Kim Craitor has bravely come Through The Looking Glass into some new kind of contradictory world, the world of Ontario minority government.
Obviously, Craitor has no problem blowing with the wind; or, more likely, pretending to be.
His is the Liberal party which supposedly 'cares so much for the patient' (puke) that they ordered Don Drummond NOT to discuss private healthcare!!
Craitor - in his supposedly new-found 'collaborative, let's all work together now, though we didn't do that when we were the majority for 8 years' epiphany's supposedly-new parallel-universe - still, ironically, doesn't recognize a private-parallel health-care system!
So, who believes the horseshit that drops out of Craitor's mouth anymore?
It is ideology, not "people", which 'comes first' to Kim Craitor. The two-faced, slimy Liberal duplicity inherent in Craitor's words today is shockingly patent.
Patient confidence in the NHS is improving? Really, Kimmy?! Your Liberal-enforced health-monopoly has just had another C. diff patient die in Niagara, following hundreds of other C. difficile patient deaths throughout Ontario during your Liberal reign. Feh: no matter... What about public confidence in your Liberal LHIN's; how's that little Liberal scam going, Kimmy?! Or your Liberal GreenFear scammery?
It's as if the greaseball political shapeshifter Kim Craitor, and his Liberal party, have never had anything to do with Ontario politics for the last eight years... it's as if Orwell's 1984 is McGuinty's 2012... as if what's happening in today's brave new Ontario has nothing to do with McGuinty's past eight years of (mis)governance... how many fingers can you see now; Jim Bradley is my friend; you are getting sleeeeepy... ...
What an utter pile of Liberal guile.