Le Lézard
Classified in: Health
Subjects: AVO, CPG, CFG

Health consultations a political ploy, not a listening exercise: OPSEU President Thomas

TORONTO, Oct. 11, 2019 /CNW/ - While Premier Doug Ford sits in exile during the federal election, his ministers seem to be using his absence to circle back on previous unpopular decisions in an attempt to halt a wave of unpopularity, says OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

Thomas points to the Ford government's bid to deflect negative opinion about its health care restructuring by suddenly consulting with stakeholders.

"These decisions have already been made, and damaging efforts to amalgamate health services across the province have been put in motion. Now all of a sudden Minister of Health Christine Elliott is launching after-the-fact consultations ? who is running the show at Queen's Park these days?" Thomas asked.

The Oct. 10 announcement that Jim Pine has been tapped to lead the Ontario Ministry of Health's sit-downs with municipal governments is nothing more than a ploy to position Conservatives as caring ahead of the federal election, Thomas added.

"These consultations should have been held a long time ago. Using patients ? and those really in need ? as political shields for a floundering federal Conservative party is despicable. Ford doesn't care about providing essential services that Ontarians need. It's clear the party has taken over, and with all of Ford's fumbles, I wonder how long it will be before he's shown the door and Rod Phillips takes over?"

With federal election stakes high, OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida says the premier's silence during the federal election campaign isn't his choice.

"Mr. Ford has been muzzled by the feds, and the Party apparatus, who see his unpopularity as a real threat to their own agenda," said Almeida. "If the federal Tories lose the election because of an unpopular Ford government then I predict the Premier will face a caucus revolt, his MPP's won't be applauding everything he says any longer."

President Thomas noted that if the premier is truly interested in listening to Ontarians, he'd be retreating on several fronts.

"If Ford really cared, he'd back-off his flawed scheme to privatize cannabis and put beer and wine in corner stores," said Thomas. "He'd show respect for frontline workers and their constitutional rights by repealing his wage cap legislation, and he'd drop his destructive scheme to restructure and cut public health care."

SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

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