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Exposing Liberal Half-Truths — the Harris Hospital Closure Myth

Burlington Post — September 2009

The Ontario Liberals have quietly pushed their tall tales, saying the PC government under Mike Harris gutted Ontario’s health-care system.

Their tales go beyond spin and enter the realm of self-serving lie. It is most telling that the Liberals never bring this lie into public debate, they merely use it as part of a whisper campaign, repeating it until it begins to take hold among the general populace.

For example, references to hospital closures that I’ve found suggest that in total the Liberals claim that the PC government closed 39 hospitals in Ontario. They arrive at this number in two ways. Several places in Ontario, including Thunder Bay, Cobourg, Peterborough and Sault Ste. Marie, had two aging hospital facilities. The PCs closed these old, outdated hospitals and built new ones.

The Liberals have lied by omission, in failing to account for the new hospitals that were built in Ontario, some to replace aging buildings and several entirely new hospitals to serve growing populations. By my count we closed 12 hospitals in this manner and opened 17 new ones.

In addition, several hospitals located in close proximity were amalgamated to save on administrative costs. For example, Oakville Trafalgar, Milton District and Georgetown hospitals were amalgamated into Halton Healthcare Services. Liberal Party math says we closed three hospitals. The truth is we simply streamlined the costs — the facilities never closed. We repeated this in major urban centres across Ontario.

The truth is we streamlined costs, opened new facilities to replace aging buildings, significantly grew health-care facilities and increased services in Ontario.

The Liberals conveniently forget the PC government opened new facilities across the province to house 20,000 long-term care patients, people who were taking spaces in acute-care hospitals. In addition, we upgraded existing long-term care facilities for 16,000 Ontarians.

This isn’t only about hospitals. If the PCs gutted health care, how do they explain the expansion of nursing positions? How do they explain our creation of home-care services? How do they explain our substantially-increased funding for cardiac and cancer care and expanded cancer care centres across Ontario? How do they explain 52 new MRIs the PCs brought to Ontario where only 12 existed and the addition of 55 CT scanners? At what point does partisan political spin damage our society? At what point do lies like this get punished by voters?

Ted Chudleigh is the Conservative MPP for Halton.

To read a detailed listing of the exact names and locations of the hospitals, see our previous post here…..


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