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January 22, 2003

A Call to Action-
 Ontario Health Coalition

Toronto – After a weekend assembly that brought together over 300 delegates representing member groups from across Ontario, the Ontario Health Coalition issued a response to Federal Health Minister Anne McLellan’s speech and a call to action.

“We applaud the Minister’s support of  key progressive reforms and the extension of Medicare into home and pharmacare,” noted coalition board member Bea Levis. “But we are truly disgusted that she insists on speaking as if the Romanow Commission -  a National Commission that engaged in real public consultation  - deserves the same attention as the Kirby Senate Committee report chaired by an unelected representative with a concurrent position as a Board member in for-profit nursing home giant Extendicare.  In addition, we warn her that she is going to have to stop the for-profit healthcare takeover of the health system if we are to see real improvements and cost-effectiveness in Medicare.”

“Over the weekend our members told us that they want to pursue an aggressive and pointed action plan to ensure the implementation of the Romanow recommendations and to stop for profit health care”, added coalition board member Derek Chadwick. “The Minister  has it right that the Premiers should not underestimate public anger if they hold Medicare hostage to the goals of the for-profit health industry and their own narrow interests. We remind Ernie Eves: there is an election around the corner. We’re gearing up for the fight of our lives.”

The Ontario Health Coalition in partnership with the Toronto Health Coalition will be holding a rally tomorrow, Thursday, January 23
at 11:45 am, outside the Premiers’ Meeting at the Sutton Place Hotel.

The Ontario Health Coalition is Ontario’s most broadly representative voice for public health care.  Its membership encompasses over 300 member groups: over 50 local health coalitions from Kenora to Windsor to Cornwall; health care workers at all levels, unions, social development agencies, community health centres, women’s groups, seniors’ groups, low income and homeless people’s organizations, ethnic and multiracial minorities’ groups, faith-based organizations, student groups, and other citizens’ organizations.

For more information: Natalie Mehra 416-441-2502

Ontario Health Coalition
15 Gervais Drive, Suite 305
Toronto, Ontario M3C 1Y8
tel: 416-441-2502
fax: 416-441-4073