QUEEN’S PARK — Mike Schreiner released the following statement in response to reports that the Premier’s government is disappointed by the funding proposal made at federal-provincial healthcare talks.
“Ontario Greens support calls for further increases to the Canada Health Transfer but the Premier’s ‘disappointment’ does not distract from the fact that his own government is responsible for Ontario’s healthcare crisis.
Federal funding alone will not solve the problems plaguing the province’s healthcare system, especially if the Premier’s government fails to actually spend the money on healthcare. For years, the Premier’s government has underfunded public healthcare to the point of collapse and exacerbated staffing shortages by refusing to pay frontline healthcare workers fairly.
Now, with the workforce at a breaking point, the government is further starving the public system by diverting scarce resources to private, for-profit surgical clinics that put shareholder profits before quality of care.
Yesterday, the Financial Accountability Officer reported that the Premier’s Government is hoarding billions of taxpayer dollars in unallocated contingency funds while underspending on healthcare by $5 billion. The Premier needs to step up and take accountability for his own failure and stop passing the buck to the federal government.
If the Premier wants to solve Ontario’s healthcare crisis, he can start by:
- Committing to stop wasting taxpayer dollars defending Bill 124;
- Immediately halting his plan to allow for-profit private clinics to carry out routine surgeries, which will take nurses and doctors away from the public system;
- Implementing a worker retention strategy that includes permanent raises and better benefits and working conditions for all healthcare workers;
- Adequately funding the public healthcare system.”