The executive director of the county’s addiction services is calling on his fellow health care workers not to vote Progressive Conservative in the next provincial election.
With Queen’s Park in a state of limbo following last month’s prorogation, there is speculation that a spring election could follow the election of a new Liberal leader and premier at the end of January.
However, David North of Tri County Addiction Services (TriCAS) already knows how he is voting.
“Don’t vote for the (Progressive) Conservatives,” North said, during a panel discussion at the latest Municipal Drug Strategy networking day held in Beckwith Township Friday, Oct. 26. “You will cancel your own wellbeing.”
North added that he believes that “we may have a government change in the near future,” and that “the money will change with the system of belief in power.”
At the same meeting, Insp. Glen Dewey of the Perth Police Service, also spoke his mind, urging fellow attendees to lobby the provincial government on matters like relaxed gambling rules and regulations and liquor rules.
Regardless of which party has been in office, “what I’ve seen the government do is…they’ve relaxed regulations,” said Dewey, who noted that he is nearing retirement after more than 30 years as a police officer, and so he was speaking a little more freely than usual.
After the bar closing hours were extended by an hour, for example, “police officers saw an increase in domestic violence,” Dewey said.
“Enough is enough,” Dewey added. “What they (the provincial government) want to do is increase revenue. We, as an MDS (Municipal Drug Strategy) Network, need to say no. It’s getting out of hand.”
Dewey further predicted that, long after he has hung up his badge, “within five, 10 years, Mac’s Milk will be selling beer. It’s coming folks.”
The panel discussion had also been asked by The Perth Courier EMC whether budget cuts announced for both campuses of the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital – with six beds slated to be closed at each facility, and early retirement and “voluntary exit” packages being offered to staff – would impact the province’s 10-year “Open Minds, Healthy Hearts” program for comprehensive mental health, and whether the funding for that program would continue on in light of the economic climate and a possible change in government at Queen’s Park.
“The expectation is that these are long term commitments,” said Anne Moloney, a community services consultant with the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, during the presentation.
“We are relieved that there was funding that came this year,” agreed Nicki Collins, executive director of Open Doors for Lanark Children and Youth at the meeting.
Marcia Gibson, regional manager for the east region for the Ottawa-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, said that the cutbacks at the hospital need not necessarily be seen in a negative light.
“Nobody wants to be in the hospital,” said Gibson, adding that the emphasis in health care today is to have patients at home recovering, where appropriate, and so that patients who are at home, “feel supported and feel they are getting what they need.”
“We are hopeful that the funding will stay,” said Heather Skanes, assistant director of client services at the Champlain CCAC (Community Care Access Centre) in Ottawa. “The community is where health care dollars should live.”