Hudak PCs Attack Ontario Nurses: Open letter designed to intimidate, silence RN concerns

TORONTO, May 25, 2014 /CNW/ - PC boss Tim Hudak's health critic, Christine Elliott attacked Ontario front-line registered nurses and their union – the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) – on Friday, denying that the PC's plans for cuts would hurt patients and cut nursing jobs.

ONA's elected president, Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, has responded to Elliott's open letter, explaining that ONA stands by every statement in the ad. Among nurses' concerns with Hudak's plans are:  freezing nurses' salaries; altering nurses' well-managed defined benefit pensions, and taking $3.42 billion a year out of the provincial coffers – money needed to fund health care – by giving corporations a 30-per-cent tax cut.

Hudak would also increase privatization of a number of sectors in which registered nurses work, contracting out the work to private clinics and private home care providers. Mr. Hudak's mentor, former Premier Mike Harris and his wife, purchased a private home nursing care franchise, Nurse Next Door, in 2012.

"There isn't an independent economist in the country who would agree that you can cut billions from the provincial budget without harming the quality of publicly funded health care, or impacting the number of registered nurses providing care in Ontario," said Haslam-Stroud.

"Mr. Hudak has clearly said he will merge Ontario hospitals into 30 to 40 'health care hubs.' This means that multiple hospital sites will close and many nurses will lose their jobs," noted Haslam-Stroud.

Ms. Elliott has never requested to meet with the president of ONA, the largest nursing union in Canada, representing 60,000 front-line nurses and allied health professionals working in every sector in health care.

Haslam-Stroud has suggested that Ms. Elliot and her party would be "better served by being up front and honest with Ontarians about how their plans will affect health care and impact our patients. Attacking nurses who deliver the care seems self-defeating."

The ONA ads can be heard at www.ona.org/morenurses. A copy of the response to Christine Elliott is attached.

Visit us at: www.ona.org; www.morenurses.ca; Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; Twitter.com/OntarioNurses

SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association: Sheree Bond, Cell: (416) 986-8240; shereeb@ona.org