At a news conference Monday to release the Ontario NDP’s northern health care platform, reporters were more interested in getting incumbent Timmins MPP Gilles Bisson’s take on what Conservative leader Doug Ford said about him a day earlier.
The incumbent premier said he never hears the New Democrat speaking in the legislature. Bisson tells local media that he’s always on his feetand asking ministers about funding for projects like the francophone health centre, the connecting link and Golden Manor.
“That’s what you do,” he says. “You go to Queen’s Park and you make those type of connections so that you can support your community when it comes to whatever. And for Mr. Ford to say he’s not hearing me, I don’t know what legislature he’s in, but he’s not in the same one as me.”
Ford said Bisson and his party voted with the Liberals, when they abandoned passenger rail service ten years ago.
Bisson responds that the New Democrats pleaded with the Dalton McGuinty Liberals not to.
“Last election and this election, we promised that we would bring back the Northlander,” he states, “and I’ll tell you: We’re forming government, we’re bringing back the Northlander and it’s not going to take four or five years to do another study, as we did last time with Mr. Ford.”
Bisson also denies opposing connecting link funding. He says it was the Mike Harris Tories who downloaded it to the municipality, and it should be re-uploaded to the province.
Bisson underwent triple bypass heart surgery a month ago. He says his strength is returning and he’ll be able to campaign and serve as MPP.
NDP NORTHERN ONTARIO HEALTH CARE PLATFORM
- Hire 300 doctors in the region, including 100 specialists and 40 mental health practitioners
- Guarantee that patients will be paid their Northern Health Travel Grant within 14 days
- The overdose crisis will be declared a public health emergency. Additional supervised consumption sites will be expected, and the NDP will invest in treatment, including detox and rehab beds
- Clear the surgical backlog by expanding operating room hours, engage in a health care worker hiring blitz, and created a centralized referral system
- Implement a provincial pharmacare program
- Enshrine universal, publicly funded mental health care
Source: Ontario NDP