Submission of Aaron Neaves

To: Ontario Health Coalition

Date: March 4, 2010

Transcribed: March 17, 2010

As Jeff said I’m Aaron Neaves, president of CWO Local 127 Chatham, president of the Chatham-Kent Labour council and Ward 4 North –Kent Dresden, not that far from here resident.

Just real quick, I wrote a couple of things down. There have been so many speakers before me obviously probably going to echo same amount or sentiments that I’m going to say today. I just wrote it down, it’s very simple. The future of small rural hospitals and what it means to our community. I did some research today on the LHINs website and it states this, LHINS are an important part of the evolution of health care in Ontario eluding from a collection of services that were often uncoordinated to a true health care system. It is a patient focus process, I kind put that in there, and I thought that was kind of ironic, through the local health system integration act 2006. This legislation places a significant decision making power at the community level and focuses the health system on a community’s need. Talking about the community’s need, I wrote down a couple of issues.

#1 Quality of life – Any communities cornerstone, I don’t care where you live, any community’s cornerstone must be accessible, not for profit, health care and when you take that away from a community you’re robbing it of its dignity. That’s number one. As this community and Ill use Wallaceburg as an example, continues to attract new business and I don’t know if there’s been any speakers before me tonight, I apologize for coming in late, I had another meeting, but as we continue to pull out of what’s happened to this community and surrounding areas you need the Sydenham hospital there as a centerpiece to attract not only doctors but attract new business because its important, and people must remember that.

I read the Ontario Health Coalition, I read it, and I thought to myself what can I say tonight to do something a little bit different and one of the things was what’s the role that the hospital plays in the community. I have two words, dignity and respect. If dignity and respect for those most vulnerable in our society is not enough, if it’s not enough than we are on the wrong path my friends. Because when you look at the dignity and the respect for those most vulnerable in our society, those who don’t have a voice, those who are too sick, those are the old, the frail, and the young. We must remember it was Tommy Douglas dream that the Canadian Health Act that brought the fruition of what we have today that not for profit Medicare, that every Canadian, I don’t care what province you live in, what sector, you must remember everybody has the right to have not for profit Medicare. And if you live in rural Ontario, or small town, it’s not a sin, because that’s what were made of, that’s the belongings of the social fabric of being a Canadian. And I want to challenge everybody in this room, because everybody in this room quite frankly is a hero, for coming out today and supporting us.

The Sydenham hospital services, Ward 5, which is Wallaceburg, the second largest community in Chatham-Kent. Wallaceburg area residents built, maintained, paid for, supported and now are fighting to help this hospital stay open.

Ward 4, North-Kent Dresden is the largest ward system and current boundary system, which means geographically it’s a rural area and a rural area for some reason the LHINs don’t think or not there are accidents that happen on family farms. I live on a family farm. There are accidents that happen in manufacturing, there are accidents that just happen. You got to have access.

Again we have our friends in the First Nations, not that far from here. But they have an obligation, an absolute obligation to have not for profit and accessible health care and for us to think anything else were doing an injustice quite frankly. We have our friends and our residents in Lambton County not that far from here, they too use the services. There’s just 4 examples, 4 small little examples that any government today with any responsible shred of dignity that would say no, absolutely not there not going to touch the ER or the Sydenham hospital. It was the people’s dream of Wallaceburg that brought the Sydenham hospital to fruition. It was the community that rallied, a lot like the speaker before me, sorry 2 speakers before me that talked about the work that they did in their community, its happened here.

In closing again I want to wrap up. I want to thank Jeff Wesley, the SOS committee, the Ontario Health Coalition for having the guts to go to rural Ontario and to challenge it. I want to say as clearly as I can on behalf of the 8000 members that I support across Chatham-Kent, as being a life long resident of this community, you have the full support, the full support anything that we can do. We will continue, we must continue to remember Tommy Douglas dream my friend because Tommy Douglas the best Canadian as you may put it, he beat Wayne Gretzkey that’s got to tell you something. He beat Wayne Gretzkey, so we know one thing, Tommy Douglas had a vision and Tommy Douglas always said courage my friend it’s not too late and I think this is a repeat quite frankly of what Tommy Douglas did.

I want to thank you very much and keep up the good work. Thank you.