Four Niagara-based organizations have invited local candidates to debate healthcare at four public events in May held in St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Welland and Grimsby.
The Niagara Health Coalition, the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) Niagara, the South chapter of the Council of Canadians (CoC) and Niagara’s district of the Retired Teachers of Ontario (RTO/ERO) announced their collaboration in a media release Thursday.
“Niagara residents need to hear from all political parties about how they intend to deal with the very significant access to health care and hospital services in Niagara,” said Sue Hotte, co-chair of Niagara Health Coalition.
Invitations were sent out over a week ago to all of Niagara’s riding associations, said Hotte, and “almost everyone is coming.”
Representatives from each organization will take turns moderating the debate, where candidates will be asked four predetermined health-related questions.
Audience members can also submit questions for the candidates to moderators in writing up to ten minutes before the debate begins, said Hotte.
Moderators will ask candidates a small selection of audience-submitted questions.
The four collaborating organizations serve to represent over 35,000 Niagara residents, according to the media release.
Among the team’s listed concerns,
Clarice West-Hobbs and Dorothy Prickett, of RTO/ERO Niagara and CARP Niagara, expressed a need to accommodate increasing cases of dementia and complicated care requirements of an aging population.
Fiona McMurran, of CoC, said the council is concerned that funding is going to private clinics, private home care companies, private long-term care homes or P3 hospitals (public private partnership) rather than staying in the public healthcare system.
Niagara’s candidates will have the opportunity to tackle these issues at Robertson Hall in St. Catharines on May 14, at the Gale Centre in Niagara Falls on May 17, at the Welland Arena on May 23 and at the Livingston Activity Centre in Grimsby on May 24.
All four debates will run from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Niagarans head to the polls, along with the rest of Ontario, on June 7.