Jim Hasson wrote:

Lambton County has found $10,000 to provide transportation for residents to attend the Queen’s Park health care rally (see article from yesterday’s Sarnia Observer ( ) below.

The City of Port Colborne also made $10,000 in municipal funds available to it citizens for participation in the efforts to save their ER.
The town of Fort Erie has 15 coaches fuelled up and ready to roll.
And in Chatham-Kent, we can not get council support to obtain a 4 year old building study on OUR hospital.
Thank goodness the community has stepped in to fill the void once again.

 *Massive hospital rally planned *


The Observer

At least 100 local residents are expected to descend on Queen's Park later this month for a massive rally designed to help Ontario's cash-strapped hospitals.

Arlene Patterson of the Sarnia-Lambton Health Coalition says buses from Sarnia and Petrolia will join a convoy of vehicles from communities across the province that will arrive at the provincial legislature April 29.

"We're looking at 5,000 people on the lawn of Queen's Park — that's our goal," she said.

Patterson hopes such a showing will convince the Liberal government to give more money to hospitals, which she says are facing a financial crunch that could have a severe impact on patient care.

"If we look at hospital budgets, we're looking at increases that are less than the rate of inflation this year," she said. "Next year is going to be even worse. Fifty per cent of hospitals are in a deficit position in 2009 and it'll be 70 per cent next year. If hospitals are being under funded, it's only logical that they'll cut services."

The health coalition has two buses lined up but, if more are needed, they will be obtained, she said.

Those making the trip must pay $10 to get on the bus, plus another $5 if they want a box lunch.

Mayor Mike Bradley is among local politicians urging people to go to the event.

"Lambton County council has come up with $10,000 to support this initiative," he said. "The county will support the transportation of people from Sarnia and Petrolia to this rally."

Some may have been lulled into a false sense of security because the province has backed away from a plan to close the emergency room at Petrolia's CEE Hospital, Bradley said. But, he added, that was just "a reprieve" that may not last. "We've got to be vigilant," he said.

Sarnia Coun. Jim Foubister said it's important for people to keep pressure on the province, otherwise hospitals in small towns and medium-sized cities could face cutbacks. "Let's not take any false hope (from the CEE situation)," he said. "We've got to keep the government's feet to the fire."

The rally has been called by the Town of Fort Erie, working in alliance with municipalities across Ontario.

Buses will leave Centennial Park and Victoria Playhouse for a journey that will take protesters to Toronto in time for an 11:30 a.m. demonstration.