Hor­wath blasts ri­vals on health

Ottawa Citizen - - CITY - JONATHAN SHER AND DAN BROWN

NDP leader An­drea Hor­wath fired dual blasts Tues­day in Lon­don at the rul­ing Lib­er­als and front-run­ning Tories, ac­cus­ing both of so ne­glect­ing health care that Lon­don and its hall­way medicine has be­come ground zero for what ails the prov­ince.

“Lon­don Health Sciences has ac­tu­ally had to im­ple­ment some­thing that they are call­ing a hall­way medicine pro­to­col. This is the re­sponse that hos­pi­tals are left with after all the cuts the Lib­eral govern­ment has im­ple­mented. It should never, ever have come to this,” Hor­wath told sup­port­ers at a rally in downtown Lon­don.

“I don’t think that Doug Ford is go­ing to be the an­swer to the prob­lems that we have when it comes to cuts to our health-care sys­tem. Look at what the Con­ser­va­tives did the last time they were in of­fice: They closed 28 hos­pi­tals and fired 6,000 nurses.”

Since May 1, staff at Lon­don’s Univer­sity and Victoria hos­pi­tals have been fol­low­ing a de­tailed “hall­way medicine” pro­to­col to de­cide which pa­tients can be moved to stretch­ers in hall­ways to free up space in over­crowded emer­gency rooms, in­ten­sive care units and sur­gi­cal re­cov­ery wards.

Also in the Lon­don area Tues­day, Pre­mier Kathleen Wynne fo­cused on the dream of a high-speed rail link with Toronto, which she said only the Lib­er­als are com­mit­ted to see­ing through.

“We’re at a point where it’s much more real than in the past,” Wynne said as she un­veiled her plans for the first phase of the link, which could start ser­vice as soon as 2025. She dan­gled the en­tic­ing car­rot of a 73-minute com­mute time to downtown Toronto, com­pared to some two hours now. Wynne is promis­ing to: for­mally be­gin the en­vi­ron­ment as­sess­ment re­quired by award­ing a con­tract and is­su­ing a no­tice of com­mence­ment

ap­point David Col­lenette to head up the high-speed rail plan­ning ad­vi­sory board

com­mit more than $11 bil­lion in the 2018 bud­get for con­struc­tion on phase one of high-speed rail be­tween Toronto and Lon­don.

Hor­wath’s at­tack on the Grits and Tories on the per­ceived de­cline of health care has be­come a cor­ner­stone of her cam­paign at a time when New Democrats have climbed in the polls to heights not seen since the prov­ince elected its only NDP govern­ment in 1990.

An Ip­sos poll be­tween May 11 and 14 sug­gested the New Democrats had surged ahead of the Lib­er­als.

Ip­sos found the Tories were the choice of 40 per cent, the NDP of 35 per cent and the Lib­er­als of 22 per cent with a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or mi­nus 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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