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Letter to the Editor, Kingston Whig-Standard
Re: National Medicare Day

 

Dear Editor,

 

A short note to update you and the readers of the Whig on the recent Kingston Save Medicare Campaign.

 

Your coverage of the events on National Medicare Day, May 15,  missed the news.  Luckily, anyone who watched or read any of the other media news would have realized that there were many more than 50 people symbolically protecting public health care at Hotel Dieu Hospital. 

And the picture of an older women taking a stand for medicare is not news.  While her presence was very important, it is well known that the vast majority of people who are old enough to remember times without public health care are strong supporters of medicare.

 

The news is that dozens attending the May 15 event were young people.  People in their teens and twenties are generally not associated with public events supporting an enhanced public health care system.  That they were on the line on May 15 is news.  As is the fact that, at the latest count, over 8,000 Kingston residents have signed a petition supporting a stronger public health care system.  It is also news that 150 people actively worked in the Kingston Save Medicare Campaign.  All of our 500 signs were put up and we were receiving about 40 calls a day from people who had heard of the campaign and wanted a sign or to sign the petition.

 

The fact that 55 municipalities in Ontario, including South Frontenac Township, passed a resolution, similar to the one passed at the Kingston City Council, supporting a publicly funded and delivered health care system is also news.

 

The six weeks of the Kingston Save Medicare Campaign showed that many Kingston residents are concerned about the provincial government contracting with private sector companies to build and run two acute care hospitals, one in Brampton and one in Ottawa. These Kingstonians clearly expressed their opposition to for-profit cancer care centres such as the one recently set up in Toronto at increased cost to tax payers.  Kingston residents responded to the damaging effect of contracting out and private sector involvement on our home care system.

 

The Medicare Campaign also focussed on enhancing our public system to include pharmacare, long term care and home care as the best value for money.  And Kingstonians responded with a resounding ‘Yes, that is a good the way to go’.

 

All of this is news that was not reported in the Whig.  The campaign will step up its efforts to make Kingston’s concerns clear to the Romanow Commission on the Future of Medicare and to our federal and provincial governments.

 

Finally, I would like to thank Kingstonians for their strong support of National Public Medicare - the most just and cost effective way to deliver health care.

 

Your sincerely,

 Ross Sutherland, co-chair, Kingston Health Coalition