Stiles goes on the offensive against Ford over healthcare during Question Period

Feb 22, 2023 | Headlines, News

By Antonio Clarke, Annicca Albano, Carlo Cantisani, Asher Klaver, Gabriel Noda and Jeferson Quiros-Vargas

Ontario NDP leader Marit Stiles took aim at the Ford government on Wednesday over healthcare during Question Period at Queen’s Park.

“This government took us from hallway medicine, to no medicine,” said Stilles when asking Ford what his intentions are when it comes to fixing staff shortages in hospitals across Ontario.

“It’s no question that Ontario’s healthcare system is in crisis, but make no mistake, this crisis is by design,” said Stiles.

The Opposition Leader’s comments come after the Ford government introduced measures to clear the backlog of Ontarians that are waiting for surgeries by giving a bigger role to clinics that are for-profit.

When asked if his government wouldn’t put publicly funded clinics in a position where private clinics would poaching their staff, Ford talked about the new developments his government has implemented in the past few years.

“When we took office in 2018, the healthcare system was an absolute disaster, there was hallway healthcare, it was just a total mess,” said Ford.

He then went on to outline how his Progressive Conservative government has hired 60,000 new nurses and 8,000 new doctors, among other improvements.

Ford also said his government has put $14 billion more into their healthcare plan, which he called a record for Canada.

Stilles however, wasn’t moved by Ford’s response.

“I guess that’s a no,” she said.

“Because no matter what this government says, they can’t guarantee that because they’re too busy fighting in court to keep those workers’ wages down in the public system” said Stiles.

The NDP leader, who was only in her second day at Question Period as Opposition Leader, went on to address how some operating tables in the province were “collecting dust” and how there were shifts that were left unfilled due to those shortages.

“This bill also includes no actual oversight mechanism to ensure patient safety, the minister of health yesterday couldn’t even say which body would be overseeing these clinics to ensure that procedures are being done safely,” said Stiles.

Ford in turn turned attacked Stiles and her party.

“As we’re building the healthcare system, the opposition is blocking it, every step of the way,” he said.

“They have no solution for the 203,000 backlog surgeries, we have a solution,” said Ford.

“The people of Ontario deserve an answer,” said Stiles in her conclusion.

Before the Question Period commenced on Wednesday several speakers took part in tributes to Hazel McCallion, the former mayor of Mississauga who died earlier this year.

Many spoke about the political giant that McCallion was, and what her life meant to them.

Liberal Mitzi Hunter described McCallion as “a force that helped propel women into politics.”

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner also shared his thoughts.

“May we all aspire to Hazel McCallion’s unparalleled commitment to public service and to her community,” he said.

“She will be missed but she will never be forgotten. The one of a kind mayor of Mississauga and may she rest in peace.”