CK-Leamington Candidates Debate Health Care
With provincial election campaigns in full swing, the chair of the Chatham-Kent Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is concerned local candidates may not have a real plan to address health care funding.
The Chatham-Kent Health Coalition partnered with the RNAO to hold an all-candidates debate for the Chatham-Kent Leamington riding on Thursday. The debate, which was held at Smitty’s Family Restaurant in Chatham, focused on health care issues in the local region.
Four candidates for Chatham-Kent-Leamington participated — incumbent Rick Nicholls (Ontario PC party), Jordan McGrail (Ontario NDP), Margaret Schleier Stahl (Ontario Liberal Party) and Mark Vercouteren (Green Party).
Chatham-Kent Health Coalition Chairperson Shirley Roebuck said while may questions were asked of the candidates, not all of the important issues were addressed.
“I don’t think any of the candidates told the audience how they were going to fund health care,” she said. “For instance, the PCs say they are going to cut $6-billion out of the the budget and yet they’re going cut taxes for everyone and eliminate the carbon tax. Now, how can they pay for health care.”
Roebuck added that she didn’t think “the Liberals were forthcoming with any real plans to increase funding so that we could have better health care here.”
“The Green Party stated that health care took up the biggest chunk of the budget in Ontario,” she said. “But they don’t know that the tax coffers in Ontario are low because of the all of the tax cuts the Liberal government has given,” says Roebuck. “The NDP just didn’t say specifically how funds would be raised… I do believe that the NDP does have a plan, but I didn’t hear it tonight.”
Despite the lack of clarity on the topic of health care funding, Roebuck said she was very pleased with the debate and the turnout.
“People are passionate about health care and it’s a difficult subject because if you’re young and healthy, you don’t really care about what’s going on at hospitals. But as the [aging] population in Chatham-Kent increases, people are paying more attention to the deficits we have with our health care here locally,” she said.
Local residents along with the rest of Ontario will head to the polls on June 7 for the provincial election.