Niagara NDP members push government to strengthen public health care


Published February 24, 2023 at 2:33 pm

When nurse and health-care workers across the province picketed Bill 124 yesterday, Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates (right, beige jacket) joined in with the group protesting at Queen's Park. (Photo: Wayne Gates Twitter)

The three Niagara-area NDP members are collectively calling on Premier Doug Ford to drop any movement towards privatized health-care and maintain hospital services in the region.

In a joint release, the trio noted at the end of February, the Welland Hospital will no longer be available for after-hours emergency surgeries. Nearby residents will be forced to drive to either St. Catharines or Niagara Falls for critical emergent cases.

“In 2021, I passed a motion at Queen’s Park, and received a commitment from the Ford government to ensure equitable hospital services throughout Niagara,” said Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch.

“The Ford government committed to maintain full emergency department and acute care services in Welland – what happened to that promise? Ontarians deserve a government that keeps their promises, especially when their local health care is at stake.”

Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates said that Ford’s push for privatized health-care was becoming more apparent with each passing day.

“Welland is just one example of what happens when public health care is not prioritized,” said Gates.

“With Ford’s new legislation to fund for-profit clinics on the table, we’re going to see this situation happen again and again. When you have an emergency, you should be able to go to your local hospital for care.”

The trio were also concerned about the future of hospitals in Niagara, saying by 2028, two urgent care centres in Fort Erie and Port Colbourne are also scheduled to close.

“Ontarians deserve so much better,” said St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens. “Our Ontario NDP team are committed to spending every day in legislature bringing forward fresh solutions in public health care and ensuring that local care is available to all.”

Recently-appointed Ontario NDP leader Marit Stiles chimed in, “The Ford government is making a clear choice to withhold billions of dollars in health care spending. We could be funding solutions in public health right now – instead, Ford’s decision is creating a staffing crisis in our health care system that he has no interest in fixing.”

Below, Gates addresses the health-care issue at Queen’s Park.

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