Media Advisory - Ontario Health Coalition: Large Protests in Five Cities Today

    TORONTO, Sept. 27 /CNW/ - Today, protests will be held in five Ontario
cities to draw attention to the McGuinty government's health-care cuts and
privatization. Details on the events that will take place at those protests
are now being made available.


           What:       A large rally and march with music, speakers, and big
                       visuals: hundreds of pillowcases indicating bed cuts,
                       a large McGuinty puppet cutting down a hospital board,
                       and home-care nurses decked in red shirts to stop

           Where:      Protest will start at Metro Hall Square (Corner of
                       King and John Sts.) at 11 am.
                       Participants will march to Queen's Park (along
                       University Ave.).
                       A rally will be held at Queen's Park at 1 pm.

           Who         Barb Barry, Muskoka Health Coalition
          (Speakers):  Cathy Carroll, Service Employees International Union
                       Terry Downey, Ontario Federation of Labour
                       Caroline Eagan, Toronto Health Coalition
                       Vern Edwards, Southern Georgian Bay Health Coalition
                       Doris Grinspun, Registered Nurses Association of
                       Helen Havlik, Petrolia City Council, Sarnia Health
                       Carolynn Ioannoni, Niagara Falls City Council, Chair
                       of Fight Back Committee
                       Natalie Mehra, Ontario Health Coalition
                       Patty Rout, Ontario Public Service Employees Union
                       Danica Rush, Ryerson Students for Medicare
                       Sid Ryan, Canadian Union of Public Employees
                       Jagtar Shergill, Brampton Health Coalition
                       Andy Summers, Ontario Nurses' Association


           What:       A rally, march, and barbeque, with music, speakers,
                       and large visuals: a hospital bleeding money and
                       McGuinty not listening.

           Where:      Protest starts at McBurney Park (Ordinance &
                       Alma Sts.) at 11 am.

           Who         Roy Brady, Peterborough Chapter of the Council of
          (Speakers):  Canadians
                       Anne Clark, Ontario Nurses' Association
                       Irene Harris, Ontario Federation of Labour
                       Dave Lundy, Ontario Public Service Employees Union
                       Marie Morrell, local citizen and patient
                       Luis Rodriguez, Canadian Union of Public Employees


           What:       A rally, march, and barbeque, with speakers and music.

           Where:      Tom Davies Square (Brady & Minto Streets) at 11 am.

           Who         David Cheslock, Service Employees International Union
          (Speakers):  Henri Giroux, North Bay Health Coalition
                       Anne Marie, Sudbury Health Coalition
                       Yves Shank, Ontario Public Service Employees Union

    Thunder Bay

           What:       A rally and march, with speakers.

           Where:      Protest will start at Paterson Park (May and
                       Milles Sts.) at 11 am.
                       Participants will march to MPP Bill Mauro's office
                       (240 South Syndicate Ave.)
                       A rally will be held at Bill Mauro's office starting
                       at 1 pm.

           Who         Jamie Loveday, Service Employees International Union
          (Speakers):  Wayne Samuelson, Ontario Federation of Labour
                       Jamie Tocker, Ontario Public Service Employees Union


           What:       A rally, march and leafleting, with speakers.

           Where:      Protest will start at Dieppe Park (Riverside Dr. and
                       Ferry St.) at 11 am.
                       Some participants will leaflet around the city.
                       A rally will be held at MPP Dwight Duncan's office
                       (2825 Lauzon Parkway, unit 211)

           Who         Bruce Dickie, CAW Local 2458
          (Speakers):  Gino Franche, Ontario Public Service Employees Union
                       Doug Hayes, Council of Canadians
                       Jim Kennedy, London Health Coalition.
                       Ian Nash, Paramedic, Service Employees International
                       Jeanne Soden, Ontario Nurses' Association
                       Dr. Susan Steigerwalt, American Physicians for a
                       National Health Program
                       Denise Sylvester, front-line long-term care worker

    The Ontario Health Coalition is reacting to recent announcements which
reveal that the McGuinty government has reneged on election promises to bring
in minimum care standards to protect seniors in nursing homes and to stop
for-profit privatization. In addition, the McGuinty government has started a
round of hospital restructuring that is forcing the biggest cuts to hospital
services since the Harris era.
    "McGuinty has budgeted less for hospitals' global budgets than the
inflation rate, meaning that there is not enough money to maintain the
existing range of services. We are now facing the most significant hospital
cuts in a decade," noted Natalie Mehra, Director of the Ontario Health
Coalition. "Ontario's hospitals already spend $100 per patient less than
hospitals in other provinces; we have the lowest average length of stay and we
staff at lower levels than the rest of Canada. We are tired of the shell-game
McGuinty is playing, hiding behind government-appointed LHINs while forcing
cuts. We have called this protest for our communities to stand up and refuse
to see one more service privatized or moved out of town," she said.
    "Dalton McGuinty's choice to renege on his election promise means that
seniors and their nurses and careworkers will have to wait for proper
protection in nursing homes," added Mehra. "Home-care patients will continue
to suffer with for-profit privatization and competitive bidding destabilizing
their care. This weekend, we are sending a strong message to say, 'Enough is
enough'. It is time McGuinty started to listen to the public interest in
health care, rather than simply continuing with Harris-style for-profit
privatization and deregulation."

For further information:

For further information: Natalie Mehra, Director of the Ontario Health
Coalition, (416) 230-6402

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Ontario Health Coalition

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