May 15, 2018 12:52 pm

Andrea Horwath unveils healthcare and hydro commitments during campaign stop in London

Andrea Horwath, leader of the province's NDP, appeared at Innovation Works Tuesday morning.

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The leader of the province’s New Democrat Party emphasized putting an end to hallway medicine during a campaign stop in London, where she unveiled her party’s Niagara and Southwestern Ontario platform.

Andrea Horwath appeared at Innovation Works Tuesday morning, where she called London “ground zero” for health-care related problems created by the governing Liberals.

“Kathleen Wynne has created a health care crisis, particularly in the hospitals here in this region, across the province,” Horwath said.

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“What we’ve seen is cuts to hospital budgets, and here you have seen all kinds of hallway medicine every single day. You’ve seen ambulances lined up in ambulance bays a dozen at a time, not being able to get patients into the hospital in order to get them beds.”

Horwath said she’d invest in health care in southwestern Ontario, including opening 2,000 new emergency beds across the province immediately, and adding another 40,000 long-term care beds for seniors.

She also cited the importance of programs like the Cardiac Fitness Institute, which was formally shuttered by the London Health Sciences Centre earlier this year, but which as found new life at a private medical facility in London.

“Mr. Ford would be the kind of premier that might take an idea like the Cardiac Fitness Institute and privatize it. Who knows what Mr. Ford is willing to privatize in our health care system? He has said he’ll leave no stone unturned in his hunt to privatize our public services. He’s going to look for every ministry.”

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Horwath also criticized the privatization of Hydro One, saying she’d reduce bills by 30 per cent and arguing she could do so by buying the utility back and capping CEO compensation.

“What we will be able to do is completely change the way Hydro One operates and bring it back to a utility that operates in the best interest of people, businesses, and industries.”

When asked whether she supported a vision for high speed rail, Horwath said the NDP “absoloutely” supports the project that would eventually connect Windsor through to Toronto.

“We support continuing on with the environmental assessment and the processes that are in place to make that dream a reality, and we want to make sure that we are engaging all of the communities that are involved, to make sure that the very best result is finalized.”

But Kate Graham, the Liberal candidate for London North Centre, said she was disappointed with Horwath’s “wishy-washy” commitment to the massive transit project set in motion by the Liberal party.

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“This will not happen unless there is strong political leadership. We need to be real with people. There will be impacts. There are with any transit projects in any community around the world. We cannot please everyone. Being able to proceed with something like high-speed rail means we need strong leadership.”

Wynne is also expected to make a campaign stop in London Tuesday afternoon at marketing strategy company Sagecomm at 2:20 p.m., while Doug Ford is campaigning in Toronto.

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