News From The Park
This week let’s start out with some good news for the Arts in Ontario. I am happy to say that my NDP colleague, MPP Percy Hatfield, put forward a Private Member’s Bill to establish a Poet Laureate for the Province. This week Percy’s bill passed its second reading in the legislature. I am also pleased that the bill names the role after Ontario artist, musician and activist Gord Downie, the late front man of the Kingston, Ontario rock band, The Tragically Hip.
The role of Poet Laureate would promote the expression of Ontario culture and heritage through literary arts. This includes writing poetry, visiting schools, arranging poetry workshops, advising the legislative library regarding its collection of literary works, and raising the profile of Ontario poets. With all of the hubbub and ruckus that goes on in the world, it’s important that we take steps to ensure that we don’t lose sight of the things that make our nation and cultures unique. It is essential that younger generations have the opportunity to learn to appreciate language and the creative ways words can stir our emotions and stimulate our imaginations.
With his poetic Canadiana lyrics, Gord Downie touched the lives of millions of people across the nation. It seems entirely fitting that we remember him by creating the position of Ontario’s Poet Laureate in his name.
Those of you who follow this column will know that I have frequently touched on the matter of our faltering healthcare system. Everyday we hear more and more about hospital overcrowding, hallway medicine and hospitals that operate above 100 percent capacity. Not for just a day or two but for months at a time. Front line healthcare workers and New Democrats have long been ringing alarm bells over this. The healthcare path that the Liberals and the Conservatives before them have put us on – frozen budgets, staff layoffs, and cuts to services – is hurting Ontarians.
Well, now it’s happened; a person has lost their life specifically because no bed was available for him when he needed it most. A Toronto man by the name of Bryan Sockett died in a foreign country when he became ill and needed medical care back here in Canada. But no bed was available. He waited for days for an opening which just never came.
In an effort to add humanness to this problem, Andrea Horwath informed the Legislature this week of the case involving Joe Glowacki. Joe suffered a heart attack in Sun City, Arizona on Dec. 1, 2017. There he was rushed to a hospital and was stable and ready to be transferred home the next day - but there were no hospital beds for him in Ontario. Andrea stated, “Joe Glowacki. Stuart Cline. David Ronald. Danny Marchand. Larry Dann. All of these people were told they couldn't go home because there were no beds available when they faced a health care emergency. And many more are in hallways or waiting rooms waiting for a bed. This is not a small glitch in the system, this a symptom of decades of health care cuts by consecutive Liberal and Conservative governments. It didn’t happen overnight.”
Imagine for a moment that you just read your mom, dad, sister, brother or, God forbid, child’s name appeared in the list above. It kind of changes the lens, doesn’t it? I say again, it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s time to stop just settling and taking whatever we get. The NDP is committed to tackling the overcrowding and hallway medicine crisis with a plan to fund hospitals at minimum to meet inflation, population growth and the unique needs of each community.
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@example.com or by phone at 705-461-9710 or Toll free 1-800-831-1899.
Michael Mantha MPP/député