Conservative Candidate’s Refusal to Attend Health Care Debate Undemocratic: London Health Coalition Concerned About Doug Ford’s Appearance at Private Clinic

Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

LONDON, Ontario, May 23, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Health care is polling as a top issue for voters as the June 7 provincial election draws near. But despite the fact that all the other major party candidates in London North Centre are joining in a public debate on health care issues today, the Conservative Party candidate has refused to attend. This follows numerous Conservative candidates who have refused to join public debates and all candidates’ meetings in recent weeks. The London Health Coalition held a press conference on this issue today raising concerns about this and about the recent appearance of Doug Ford, PC Party Leader at a private clinic in London.

“Most politicians would not choose a private clinic as a venue for a health care announcement,” said Peter Bergmanis, London Health Coalition co chair. “It certainly raises red flags for us, especially because neither Mr. Ford nor our local candidate are making clear their intentions when it comes to health care privatization. We are also concerned because it is undemocratic to refuse to attend the only public debate on such a major issue. We lived through the Mike Harris years where the government closed the door to groups that advocated to protect public health care and we do not want to allow them to go back to this.”

“With a plan to cut more than 6 billion dollars from the provincial budget from Doug Ford and the Conservatives, we have legitimate questions about the impact on our local health care,” said Jeff Hanks, a Registered Nurse and coalition co –chair. “Our hospitals in London are the most overcrowded in Canada and we need funding here to reopen closed hospital wards and rebuild our services that have been cut. We are extremely worried that proposals to cut huge amounts of funding will hurt patients. These are false “savings” for a patient if they either cannot get the care they need or they are faced with privatization and user fees that they cannot afford when they are aging and ill.”

In recent weeks, the coalition has been campaigning to make the draconian cuts to London’s hospitals an election issue, pressing all the political parties to meet the coalition’s key recommendations for:

  • a significant investment of funding that goes directly to improving care levels and reopening closed services in local public hospitals. The coalition is calling for 5.3% funding increase each year for the next four years; and
  • a minimum care guarantee of four-hours of hands-on nursing care and personal support for all residents in long-term care and 30,000 new long-term care beds to address with long wait lists.

The coalition’s platform is available at:

These questions have not been answered yet by all of the parties. The coalition will ask all of the political parties these questions at the London North Centre debate, but will not be able to ask the Conservative Candidate because she will not agree to attend. They are encouraging voters to ask the candidates to commit to rebuilding and restoring public hospital and long-term care services and to stop privatization and cuts.

For more information: Jeff Hanks 226-448-3067 (cell).

Ontario Health Coalition
The London Health Coalition is a member of the OHC, a non-partisan public interest group and the largest and broadest on health care in Ontario, representing ½ million people. The OHC represents family and patient groups; the major seniors' groups in Ontario; public interest advocates; careworkers, health professionals, nurses and their unions; doctors who support public medicare; non-profit organizations; equity, cultural and anti-poverty groups; municipalities; local businesses and others.‎ The OHC works to safeguard and improve public health care for all under the principles of equity and compassion that are embodied in the Canada Health Act.