With a long and storied history, the CCH is civic treasure, a most valuable public asset, owned by the 110,000 people in its catchment area. In 2014, the community of Cornwall, SDG and Akwesasne wrapped up a 12 million dollar fundraising drive to redevelop The Cornwall Community Hospital, and the fundraising continues, and people continue to give, as they will this weekend, generously and spectacularly at Aultsville Theatre.
But the government is not keeping pace. Today, barely 10 years after that massive fundraising drive, austerity policies on the part of the provincial government challenge the hospital’s ability to fulfil its mandate. All over Ontario, operating rooms and emergency wards are closed for lack of staff. And what is the government’s response? Instead of reinvesting in and strengthen public medicare, the government proposes to develop a cadre of private, for profit clinics. If it is successful in that intent, the hospital will lose the public funds, the taxpayers’ dollars, that will follow the patients into the for-profit clinics, gradually hollowing out the public hospitals.
This intent breaks trust with those who gave so generously to ensure the community hospital was a state-of-the-art facility, capable of serving all comers. And it breaks faith with those who count on government to maintain a balance between the privateers and profiteers on one side and the people on the other.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Our hospitals are not for sale. We can stop this. Rampant privatization and profiteering of hospital services were not an election issue and Doug Ford has no mandate to advance it. I urge you to send this message to Queens Park: re-invest in the public system that is here for everyone.
Co-chair of the Cornwall Chapter of the Ontario health Coalition