NDP platform promises transportation strategy, more hospital beds for southwestern Ontario

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath makes a point during a townhall on health care in Sarnia, Ont., on Monday, May 14, 2018. The Canadian Press file photo

The NDP’s newly-released platform for southwestern Ontario promises improvements to health care, schools and transportation.

The party promises to initiate a transportation strategy for the region, which stretches from Guelph to Windsor and includes the Kitchener-Waterloo region, Brantford and London. This has become a hot-button topic in the area, as more people commute throughout southern Ontario. The NDP promises to bring all-day GO service to the route between Kitchener and Toronto and to also make highways safer.

The platform states that road safety has been jeopardized by privatized road maintenance leaving roads in poor shape. It says the issue will be addressed by “restoring public oversight and management of winter road maintenance.”

The NDP says it will also install barriers on Hwy. 401 between London and Windsor and twin Hwy. 3.

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“We need all-day, two-way GO train service and high-speed rail,” said Catherine Fife, NDP candidate for Waterloo, in a statement. “Unlike the Ford Conservatives and the Wynne Liberals, New Democrats are committed to getting our transit projects done.”

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The platform states the NDP will also boost spending for local transit by funding 50 per cent of operating costs and will build more rapid transit in London.

The party’s plan for the region also includes a plan to decrease hospital waiting times by opening 2,000 new hospital beds immediately while prioritizing facilities, like the Cardiac Fitness Institute in London.

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In a statement, the party says hospitals in London and Brantford are operating at dangerous levels as the region “has been hit hard by the hallway medicine crisis.”

The NDP is also attempting to appeal to seniors by offering to build 40,000 new long-term care beds over 10 years and saying it will ensure that there is more hand’s-on care.

The party platform says that it will expand the mandate of the Wettlaufer inquiry to include a long-term care within 100 days if elected.

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Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says the region’s citizens “deserve a province where health care gets better and our children’s classrooms are built up. A province where families have more opportunity — especially when it comes to the kind of good jobs you can raise a family on.”

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The NDP also promises to place a moratorium on rural school closures if elected, support agri-business, manufacturing and emerging high-tech industries while also cutting hydro bills by 30 per cent.

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