Henri Giroux is trying to get the word out about what he believes is an important vote for the future of public health care in Ontario.
Giroux, the chair of the North Bay Health Coalition, is among a number of healthcare advocates to fight against Bill 60, which Coalition supporters believe will create more private health care in Ontario.
"We strongly believe that a Bill 60 that the provincial government just passed on May 8 that people will have to pay out of pocket instead of paying through OHIP with these private clinics that they are going to be having and they want to build three private hospitals," explained Giroux.
"So we believe that means private money for stakeholders. We believe people will end up being shafted in a way that if they do not have money they won't have service."
Bill 60 received Royal Assent in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on May 18, 2023.
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Giroux says he has been going door to door with Ontario Health Coalition pamphlets outlining the privatization concern.
"People are outside so we talk to them and even people who are conservative are telling me they do not agree with this and that this is not the way to go," he said.
A spokesperson for Ontario’s Minister of Health told BayToday's David Briggs back in late April, that if Bill 60 passes, citizens will access medical services with their OHIP card, not out of pocket.
“Our government knows wait times for surgeries and diagnostic tests have been increasing year after year. We are not okay with the status quo and know more work needs to be done,” noted Hannah Jensen, a spokesperson for Sylvia Jones, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
However, Giroux fears this Bill could lead Ontario a step closer to the American health care system.
"I heard that going door to door many many times," said Giroux.
"They talk about a two-tier system, you can afford it you move forward but if you cannot, you wait. We strongly believe that is what is going to happen and that is why we continue with this referendum.'
Giroux says the coalition has collected more than 100,000 online votes.
"We are going to count the ballots and then we are going to drop them off to Doug Ford next Wednesday at Queen's Park," he said.
Polls will be placed throughout the North Bay area on Saturday or they can go online to vote at www.publichospitalvote.ca
Referendum voting can be done at the following locations across the region:
- Scott's Discount, 323 Main Street
- Crevier-Lucky 13 General Store 368 on Hwy 94
- Rolly's Pitstop, 232 Yonge Street
- East Ferris Community Centre
- China Garden, 458 Main Street
- Friendship Centre, 138 McEachern Street
- Double Decker 10397 Hwy 124
- 8401 ON-63 convenience stores
- 206 King Street
- Foodland, 20 Bay Street
- Health Coalition Campaign Officer, 335 Main Street East
- Home Hardware, 1300 Algonquin
- Moose's Cookhouse, 134 Main Street East
- Pellerin Paints, 1143 Fisher Street
- North Bay Museum, 100 Ferguson Street
- Lucky 13, 555 McKeown Avenue
- Hit the Spot, 150 Mountview Drive
- CUPE office drive thru, 120 Lakeshore Drive
- Metro, 390 Lakeshore Drive