Liberal candidate gets huffy over suspicion that hospital funding by a PC government might not materialize.
BURLINGTON, ON September 22, 2011 Karmel Sakran, the Liberal candidate for the Burlington seat is ticked. He thinks Tim Hudak, the leader of the Progressive Conservative opposition at Queen’s Park, is equivocating on the funding for the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital (JBMH) – and Sakran is having none of that nonsense.
Sakran has been part of the JBMH Board for more than five years. He was part of the team that hired the hospital’s current Chief Executive Officer Eric Vanderwall who has managed to wrestle the institution out of its state of shame during the C.difficile crisis. Sakran had every reason to expect to become chair of the hospital board ( a position that has significant social clout in this city) but resigned to run for public office. The bread on Sakran’s table comes from his law practice.
Sakran was so angry with the hint that a Hudak government might renege on funding for the hospital that he held a press conference to make a statement: “PC leader Tim Hudak’s refusal to guarantee the McGuinty government commitment to the $312 billion JBMH redevelopment, makes it more vital than ever that Burlington carefully consider their vote” said Sakran.
Karmel, who has more than a good chance of winning the riding for the Liberals, is going to pull at every string he can lay his hands on. And hospital funding is one of the hotter local election issues. He is out at the debates and knocking on doors. He is certainly very visible and he appears to be gaining solid traction.
Speaking of the hospital Sakran said the Hudak comments are a “real disappointment for our community” He added that it is difficult to create a successful local fund raising campaign when one of the leadership candidates isn’t saying he is 100% behind funding the hospital. The local PC candidate is certainly saying the hospital will get built and paid for if she is sitting at Queen’s Park. Four of her children were born there – so she’s a fan.
Speaking of the local candidate – where has she been. She hasn’t made it to any of the all-candidate meetings. She explained that she couldn’t make one of them due to prior commitment but withdrew at the last minute from the second all candidates meeting.
There are several all candidates meetings scheduled for next week – no way she can avoid those. McKenna’s peek-a-boo campaign has worked so far. But at some point she has to come out of the bushes and let people here what she has to say without reading words from the PC Change Book.
The Liberal government has sent the hospital a letter saying that funding is now in place but the hospital won’t see any of that money for more than four years by which time there could be a different government in place.
Any construction that is going to take place down on Lakeshore will be paid for by a tax levy the city is imposing and fund raising that the hospital has committed to undertake. The city is going to put up $60 million and the hospital is going to match that dollar for dollar” But the truth of the matter is that Burlington hasn’t seen a dime from the province and won’t see a dollar until sometime in 2014. That’s a tough one to swallow.
Sakran’s close colleagues at the hospital were hoping that he would get to Queen’s Park and get something for the city. The visit from the Premier didn’t hurt but had the Premier said the province was going to match what the hospital and the city are raising – dollar for dollar – a lot of the unrest we have now wouldn’t exist.
Burlington is a seat the Tories have to hold if they are to have any hope of forming a government. If the Liberals manage to win the seat – they will form the next government.
To make their point even stronger the Premier said yesterday that: Ontario Liberals are building 18 new hospitals and are dedicated to bringing new hospitals and redevelopments to communities across Ontario. Most recently, Ontario Liberals have pledged to move forward with major projects for Cambridge Memorial Hospital, Milton District Hospital and Sudbury Regional Hospital — to name a few.