Liberals Stealing Federal Health Transfer Payments to Pay for Fiscal Mismanagement of Ontario Finances
(May 1st, 2015) This week in the Ontario Legislature I asked the Liberal government to explain to Ontarians why they cut $54 million in health care from the recently released 2015 Ontario Budget—the Canada Health Transfer payment increased by $652 million, while the Ontario health budget only increased by $598 million. The Minister's response was pure nonsense and an insult to Ontarians considering the billions they've wasted over the last 12 years.
In spite of multiple new taxes in the budget and an increase in spending by an additional $2.4 billion from last year, the government is taking money from health care to pay for the last decade of their wasteful mismanagement of Ontario's finances.
The budget is a shocking reality for our province and it stoops to a level that I, and most Ontarians, ever believed this government was capable of. I can only conclude that Premier Kathleen Wynne's top priorities do not include healthcare.
As a proud conservative, I can attest that governments can't afford to pay for everything. But, that's why we have a government. The prime responsibility for all governments is to set priorities and spend within their means so they can afford the things that matter most, like health care.
Cuts to Ontario's health budget are completely unacceptable—no ifs, ands, or buts. Particularly, considering that our senior population, who rely heavily on our health care system, grows by about 4 per cent each year.
These latest cuts will be devastating to our communities. $54 million is the equivalent of 9,000 long-term care beds.
The majority of phone calls I receive from constituents are from those who are on waitlists for long term care. In one recent case, an elderly man was put in a retirement home while he waits for a long-term care bed. The retirement home is costing the family over $7000 a month to cover the care he needs. This is simply unacceptable.
The government has already made cuts to nursing. According to the Ontario Nurses' Association, the government has cut 1,600 registered nursing positions. This is in addition to the recent government cuts to physiotherapy, diabetic supplies and cataract and glaucoma surgeries.
Locally, our hospitals continue to deal with pressures from overcrowding. Both hospitals have redevelopment applications into the government. The budget did not address those applications.
Matthews House Hospice was ignored in this budget and continues to go without operational funding, despite the government's commitment to the funding in last year's budget. The $54 million cut from the health care budget could have provided that funding.
The reality is the Liberals stole $54 million out of health care payments they received from the federal government to pay for years of their mismanagement. The Auditor General predicted this would happen when she talked about "crowding-out" important services like health care on page 39 of her 2014 Annual Report.
To watch MPP Jim Wilson question the government on this issue please CLICK HERE