TORONTO, Sept. 11 /CNW/ - The first official debate of the provincial
election saw a heated debate on the issue of seniors' care in Ontario.
Ontario Health and Long-Term Care Minister George Smitherman, NDP MPP
Cheri DiNovo and PC MPP John O'Toole went head-to-head at the event hosted by
the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS).
Debaters questioned their rivals' track record on the issue, while all
insisted that seniors' care is a top priority for their party.
"In these early days of the campaign, this has been a great opportunity
to get a sense of where the parties are coming from in terms of demonstrating
their commitment to seniors in Ontario," said Donna Rubin, CEO of OANHSS.
"No matter which party comes to power, we'll be looking to see real
investment to support seniors, both in their homes and in long term care
A capacity crowd packed the debate room at Hart House, University of
Toronto, and included concerned groups who advocate on behalf of seniors,
providers of care, major stakeholders in the field and seniors themselves.
The debaters tackled topics ranging from how to accommodate the
province's aging population, addressing two-tier seniors' care and adequate
funding for long term care. Questions came from a media panel that included
Alan Carter (Global Television), Lisa Priest (The Globe and Mail), Moira Welsh
(The Toronto Star) and Lorrie Goldstein (The Toronto Sun). Cathy Fooks,
President and CEO of the Change Foundation, served as debate moderator.
"This debate was a great opportunity to bring the issue of seniors' care
front and centre in the early days of the campaign," said Rubin. "Going
forward, we want to see that seniors' care remains a priority for all three
OANHSS is the provincial association representing not-for-profit
providers of long term care, services and housing for seniors. Members include
municipal and charitable long term care homes, non-profit nursing homes,
seniors' housing projects and community service agencies. Member organizations
operate over 27,000 long term care beds and over 5,000 seniors' housing units
across the province.
/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
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For further information:
For further information: Debbie Humphreys, OANHSS, (416) 553-7401