Thursday, September 15, 2011

Liberals abandoned Burlington in its C. difficile crisis of 2006–2008, but they want our votes now

Over at the Our Burlington website, they’re running a feature in which they asked that the Burlington candidates in Ontario’s Oct. 6 general election write about “the other guy” as they put it. They plan a future feature when each candidate will write about their own party’s platform.

The Progressive Conservative Party (PC) declined to participate, but the Liberal Party candidate, Karmel Sakran, did and did a fine job summarizing his party’s platform and recent record, especially in health care and transportation.

Unfortunately, he took cheap shots at the PCs and took credit for funding that was, quite clearly, given as election “goodies,” that opposition parties, by definition, could not match. Moreover, he did so without regard to accuracy and fairness.

“… here’s my main message for Burlington: it’s hospitals—not highways,” writes Sakran. Say what! The Liberals won’t be building highways? Isn’t that what governments are supposed to do?

Sakran also drew parallels that were false. For example, he said:

“Rather than celebrate this decision [to fund redevelopment of Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital] as a good for Burlington, the opposition PCs and NDP chose to attack the efforts made by their fellow citizens, calling the announcement’s timing pure politics.”

The opposition rightly criticized the “timing” of this decision. When he took incumbent PC MPP Joyce Savoline to task because she did just that, he wrote in in the Burlington Post:

“She knows that the two decades prior to the 2003 election of the McGuinty Liberal government saw Tory governments completely ignore Burlington’s demonstrated need for a redeveloped hospital.”

This is simply a cheap shot based on misinformation—it’s disingenuous at best.

He refers to the two-decade period from 1984 to 2003 when he writes, “Tory governments completely ignore Burlington’s demonstrated need for a redeveloped hospital.” In this statement, Sakran admits our hospital had a demonstrated need for redevelopment during David Peterson’s two terms as premier. Let’s take a closer look at that 20-year period:

  • 1985–1987 PCs are the official opposition; Liberals share power with the NDP.
  • 1987–1995 PCs are the third party; first Liberals and later the NDP govern during that time.
  • 1995–2003 PCs govern, during which time the federal Liberals slashed transfer payments to Ontario for health care funding by tens of billions of dollars. No wonder the PC government had to make revisions to the province’s health care budgets. We in Ontario were in fiscal-survival mode as Sakran’s federal Liberals balanced their book on our backs.

Sakran’s charge begs this question: During the decade plus before Mike Harris’s governments, when we saw the highest spending in Ontario’s history until that time, why didn’t the Liberals properly fund Burlington hospital’s “demonstrated need” to use Sakran’s words? So much for Sakran’s empty boast, “We build hospitals—not close them like the PCs.”

Moreover, where was Dalton McGuinty’s government in 2007 while Burlington’s hospital had an overall rate of C. difficile of 2 infections per 200 patients, twice the rate of other Canadian hospitals.

Furthermore, where was the McGuinty government while in 2006–2008 the bacteria was killing 30 patients and contributing to the deaths of 46 others.

As to this gem from Sakran:

“I was delighted when our [provincial Liberal] government increased its funding, August 31. The additional $320,000 added to base funding will strengthen Carpenter’s [Carpenter Hospice] nursing and personal support services and enhance its ability to deliver palliative care in Burlington.”

Come on! The August 31 promise was just over a month before the general election. The Liberal government is clearly trying to buy our votes with our own money. The PCs and the NDP cannot do that. Only the government can do such things, so they shouldn’t be boasting about it.

Then Sakran slips in a laundry list of Liberal campaign promises. I won’t bore you with them since, if their record holds true, we’ll never see much of them after the election. The McGuinty Liberals have a sorry record of not keeping their pre-election promises; why should this election be any different?

Burlington has not had a Liberal MPP since about 1943, yet somehow we managed to become the best damn community in Ontario. For all but about the most recent three months of that time, successive provincial Liberal governments have ignored us, presumably because we vote conservative. And during the C. difficile crisis of 2006–2008 the McGuinty government abandoned us, so why should anyone want a Liberal MPP now? They were not there for us then, why be there for them now?

Liberal hopeful Karmel Sakran is apparently a nice guy, who dines out on having served on the hospital board, but he doesn’t seem to have much else going for him as a future MPP.



© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

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