To-do list long: Geli­nas

Col­umn: NDP will hold Ford govern­ment to ac­count, Nickel Belt MPP says

The Sudbury Star - - NEWS - FRANCE GELI­NAS GUEST COL­UMN France Geli­nas is the NDP MPP for Nickel Belt.

Wow, what a year 2018 has been in On­tario pol­i­tics. We have ac­com­plished a lot in Nickel Belt dur­ing that pe­riod of time. I am sin­cerely hop­ing that we keep mov­ing ahead and do not start to go back­ward in the com­ing year.

Many peo­ple have iden­ti­fied dan­ger­ous sec­tions on our high­ways and roads and we have al­ready made some of them safer. It took the threat of a protest, but we have brand new stop­lights in Dowl­ing, al­low­ing pedes­tri­ans to cross the high­way safely to go to school, the com­mu­nity cen­tre or the li­brary. We also have street­lights on High­way 144 at the Gogama turn off. This in­ter­sec­tion is now a whole lot more vis­i­ble and safer. These are im­por­tant ac­com­plish­ments, but this work is not done. I still have a long to-do list to ad­dress road safety in our com­mu­ni­ties.

Many of you have shared sto­ries of over­crowd­ing and hall­way medicine at Health Sciences North. You have talked to me about the mea­sures our hospi­tal has had to take to bring for­ward a bal­anced budget when their ex­penses keep go­ing up, but their rev­enue doesn’t.

So when Health Sciences North an­nounced they were scal­ing back one of the ser­vices pro­vided at its Breast Screen­ing As­sess­ment Clinic, there was a huge com­ing to­gether of women’s health ad­vo­cates. Women and their al­lies are mak­ing their voices heard and stand­ing up for their ser­vices with let­ters, pe­ti­tions, demon­stra­tions and news sto­ries. It’s an hon­our to bring these voices to Queen’s Park and call for proper fund­ing of our hospi­tal.

Many res­i­dents are still very an­gry as they con­tinue to pay the bill for the Lib­eral govern­ment’s sell-off of Hy­dro One. To make mat­ters worse, the Con­ser­va­tive govern­ment ended a green en­ergy pro­gram that helped peo­ple retro­fit their homes to be more en­ergy ef­fi­cient by do­ing things like up­grad­ing their win­dows. This left a large num­ber of my con­stituents pay­ing the bills or los­ing their de­posits be­cause of the govern­ment’s ar­bi­trary dead­line.

Peo­ple fre­quently ask me what I fore­see in the up­com­ing year. The short an­swer is a lot of hard work. The NDP will keep stand­ing up to Doug Ford’s Con­ser­va­tives as they try to take On­tario back­wards, and will in­stead ad­vo­cate for progress. There are also sev­eral is­sues I will con­tinue to work on for my con­stituents in the Nickel Belt.

Last sum­mer, I re­ceived nu­mer­ous com­plaints about dan­ger­ous con­struc­tion in the west end of Nickel Belt on High­way 17. There were no signs telling driv­ers to slow down, and lots of dust and gravel fly­ing ev­ery­where. We have been push­ing the Min­istry of Trans­porta­tion to com­pen­sate the peo­ple whose ve­hi­cles sus­tained dam­age. The min­istry keeps point­ing to the con­trac­tor, who points back to the min­istry, and noth­ing gets solved. This is wrong and we won’t stop un­til some­one takes re­spon­si­bil­ity for the dam­age caused by those dan­ger­ous high­way con­di­tions.

Some of you will re­mem­ber Dean and Erla Wen­borne. They re­ceived a $12,000 bill for an air am­bu­lance trans­fer from one hospi­tal to an­other for life-sav­ing emer­gency med­i­cal care while trav­el­ling in Nova Sco­tia. The in­ter-pro­vin­cial agree­ment on Medi­care was writ­ten be­fore air am­bu­lances ex­isted. We will work hard to add this is­sue to the agenda for the health min­is­ters’ meet­ing next sum­mer. It’s im­por­tant that Cana­di­ans con­tinue to be cov­ered by Medi­care, no mat­ter which prov­ince they hap­pen to be vis­it­ing.

Our long-awaited po­si­tion emis­sion to­mog­ra­phy (PET) scan­ner, a di­ag­nos­tic tool used to do things like iden­tify cer­tain can­cers, should open some­time this spring (I will be­lieve it when I see it.) I have been work­ing on this since Sam Bruno, who we lost to col­orec­tal can­cer, came to talk to me in the sum­mer of 2008.

Last June, On­tar­i­ans elected the NDP as the Of­fi­cial Op­po­si­tion. I am very thank­ful to all of you who put their faith in me with an ‘X’ next to my name. It has been an hon­our to serve you for the last 11 years and I look for­ward to con­tinue serv­ing you in the com­ing years. As al­ways, if you live in the Nickel Belt, please don’t hes­i­tate to con­tact us at 705969-3621 or fgeli­[email protected]

JOHN LAPPA/SUD­BURY STAR

Nickel Belt MPP France Geli­nas makes a point dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in Sud­bury, Ont. on Tues­day Novem­ber 27, 2018. She is call­ing on the On­tario govern­ment to re­store the French Lan­guage Com­mis­sioner and Univer­site de l'On­tario fran­cais.

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