Londoners join Queen's Park rally, protesting health care changes

Londoners to protest budget cuts in general strike against Doug Ford government

Londoners to protest budget cuts in general strike against Doug Ford government

On Tuesday, Health Minister Christine Elliott said the government is making investments in both the operating and capital budgets of the province's health care system and stressed it is not exploring privatization of services.

"The new legislation Doug Ford worked to keep secret from the public will sell vital health care services to private for-profit corporations, impose costly mega-mergers that put our local services and hospitals at risk, and privatize our health care system". He added that the planned cuts to health care will only exasperate cuts made by the previous Liberal government.

The Ontario Health Coalition represents more than half-a-million Ontarians in a network of more than 400 member organizations and more than 50 local chapters.

"I understand that the department of public health in Toronto, in addition to running surpluses for a number of years, also had an entire department just for advocacy, and also did a study on the health and safety ramifications of reinventing Yonge Street", Elliott said.

TFSS says it also gets $14.6 million through a City of Toronto grant, and a city spokesperson said that funding flows from the public health budget. The province says the cuts amount to just $25 million next year and $33 million in 2020-21. "We know privatization is happening; we have to have a government that stands up to that". "We have a lot at stake, we have a lot to lose".

In the past, Toronto Public Health has launched campaigns around cannabis use, anti-HIV and drug use stigma, condom use, including a condom wrapper design contest, breastfeeding and physical activity. "The government has taken away all of that".

Very little consultation was done prior to the Bill 74's introduction, and yet less consultation was done afterwards.

Many protesters voiced concerns about future privatization of services as a result of the new measures.

"We want to work collaboratively with the City of Toronto and I think it's unfortunate that the amount of rhetoric has been amped-up to the degree it has because I am confident that the essential program that Toronto Public Health is meant to deliver will be delivered", she said.

As we learned during such public health scares as the SARS epidemic, the work of Public Health is critical.

Anyone in London who would like to attend the rally at Queens Park is asked to contact Hanks at 226-448-3067 or Peter Bergmanis at 519-860-4403 for more information.