News from Queen’s Park – Tipping Point?

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New Democrats have been declaring for well over ten years that, as Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” It doesn’t take a political science degree to know this and recognize that the pungency of this aroma has increased month after month and year after year under Liberal Government.  And you can’t say it’s just political games playing anymore because now even Ontario’s own independent auditor general’s reports is confirming this.

Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk’s released annual report indicates that major changes need to happen in order to ensure Ontario will have the genuine opportunity and realistic future which people believe that we can and should have.

It is abundantly clear that we are now at a crucial tipping point in this province. All of us truly desire and struggle so that our children might have the same or better opportunities than we have had.  But instead of achieving this goal, this damning annual report tells us that the wait time for care in our hospitals is far too long. Patients are waiting nearly 40 hours for acute care and they’re waiting longer to see a family doctor.  The information the government feeds us about wait times for surgery is quite misleading.

Recently the Liberals introduced amendments to Bill 41, renamed the Patients First Act. The intent of the amendments is to resolve issues of inefficiency and access to quality care in our health system such as those above. But when the Auditor General reviewed each of the Local Health Integration Network’s (LHINs) evaluations, she discovered that most of them only met 6 out of 15 performance indicators; clearly not a passing grade. She also found that both the LHIN and Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) spent less money on providing homecare services because administrative costs (which included CEO bonuses) mushroomed to a whopping 40%. So what is the government’s solution? Eliminate the CCACs and expand the role of LHINs. Their plan is to increase bureaucracy and privatize access to our health care information thus, “maximizing the value of these digital health assets for the greatest return.”

The Auditor General also took the Liberals to task for the improper administration of many job programs in the province. Half of the people who enter an apprenticeship in this province aren’t finishing and the Second Career and Employment Services programs are helping less than 40% of the people who are trying to build a better life with a better job. The Liberals have failed to create the necessary opportunities and jobs for our people.

Successive Liberal governments have failed to address the needs of youth who have been identified to have mental concerns and illnesses. Children living with mental health challenges are making more visits to the hospital, but the government doesn’t know why, and the data showing wait times for treatment and effective education are misleading. It took immense pressure from parents, mental health advocates and the New Democrats to force the government to do an about face and continue to fund the necessary support for children who are in the autistic spectrum who were on waiting lists for years. The same pressure was necessary to ensure they didn’t close our Provincial and Demonstration schools for special learners.

In her report the Auditor General says the government is spending our tax dollars to pat themselves on the back, trying to convince us all what a wonderful job they have done. It would seem that Premier Wynne and her cabinet have never read the classic children’s story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” but Bonnie Lysyk certainly has. She sees things for what they really are.

Ontarians want to believe that our province has a future, but this week’s Auditor General’s report shows that the government is making decisions that aren’t the best interest of our people but rather what is in the best interest of Kathleen Wynne and the Liberal Party of Ontario.

As always, please feel free to contact my office about these issues, or any other provincial matters. You can reach my constituency office by email at [email protected] or by phone at 705-461-9710 or Toll free 1-800-831-1899.

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