SOS Chair Jeff Wesley's speech at Queen's Park April 29th

Good afternoon, I am here today to speak directly to our Premier about the future of Sydenham District Hospital in Wallaceburg, a hospital that has served thousands of patients for the past 52 years and has over 23,000 annual visits to the emergency department.
I have been an active and dedicated member of the Liberal Party for over 25 years as well s a former candidate and I am fed up.
Premier, in the fall of 2003 when you were campaigning for the position you now hold, you, your wife and your brother were honoured guests in our home. In 2004 then Minister of Health George Smitherman met with me at Sydenham District Hospital.
I am here today to remind both of you of the solemn promise you made to the people of Wallaceburg, Walpole Island, Dresden and St. Clair Township, which was that the future of Sydenham District Hospital was safe and secure under your watch.
It was a promise that I believed, that our communities believed and that the people of Ontario believed.
Premier, my promise to you is that if our emergency department closes, not only will I tear up my membership card, but I will actively campaign to defeat our local Liberal MPPs and this government.
Your Minister of Health continues to brag that the LHINs are local people. He is wrong. The LHIN is appointed by the government, not elected, and there is not a single board member who uses our hospital or even lives in the catchment area. Not local, not even close.
Premier, you say you support and understand rural communities. I challenge you to prove it.
You say that you support and understand rural health care. I challenge you to prove it.
You say that you want to reduce emergency room wait times. I challenge you to prove it by leaving our ER, with over 23,000 visits per year, open.
On Monday you announced the formation of a Northern and Rural Health Care Panel. With this panel completes their work you must put in place a complete moratorium on all cuts, closures and changes affecting northern and rural hospitals. Do this before someone dies. Do this for the good of Ontario. If not what is the point?
Imagine what could be accomplished if we took the energy here today and in our communities and put it towards keeping our hospitals open.
Rural communities, like Wallaceburg, depend on rural hospitals, like Sydenham District. It is a matter of life and death both for our citizens and for our communities.
This is something we have sacrificed for, it is something we have paid for, and Premier it is something we will fight for with firm and unrelenting resolve.
We will fight because it is the right thing to do!