Cornwall Ontario — On Monday March 31st there will be a Healthcare rally to call for renewal of the 10-year federal-provincial health accord which expires March 31, 2014. It starts at noon, and participants will meet at 340 Pitt Street, and march to 621 Pitt Street (the constituency office of MP Guy Lauzon). Elaine MacDonald and Diane Morin, co-chairs of the Cornwall chapter of the Ontario Health Coalition are organizing the march. Everyone is invited to particpate and join the over 40 other communities calling for a renewed federal support for an accord.
At the local and provincial levels, especially in Ontario, healthcare funding is being progressively constrained and reduced. The Health Accord of 2004, which delivered a consistent level of funding from the federal government to the provinces and territories, expires on Monday. The federal government has steadily refused to negotiate a new accord and it is estimated that the alternative proposed by Jim Flaherty when he was minister of finance, will withdraw 36 billion from health spending over the next ten years.
In Ontario, the situation is especially dire. Small rural and northern hospitals are struggling to stay viable in the face of rounds of bed closures and everywhere, hospital budgets are under threat from the government’s intention to move surgical procedures out of hospitals to private clinics. Our hospitals can’t afford to lose the funding and as Canadians who support and rely on public healthcare, we can’t afford to sit idly by while this fundamental change occurs.
Members of the Ontario Health Coalition, and the Canadian Health Coalition are calling for people to raise the alarm. With forty other communities across the province, we invite you to join us at noon on Monday, March 31, at the Justice Building at 340 Pitt Street, Cornwall. From there we will walk solemnly to the office of our MP, where we will deliver a handwritten request for a renewal of federal government leadership in the support and renewal of public healthcare in Canada.
“If you have a red umbrella, it would be appropriate to bring it”, says Elaine MacDonald and Diane Morin Co-Chairs of the Cornwall Chapter of the Ontario Health Coalition.