For Burlington, Liberals choose hospitals, not highways.

By Karmel Sakran, Liberal candidate, Burlington.

We asked each of the candidates to tell you, our readers, what they thought was wrong with the election platforms of the opposing candidates. We asked that they write about “the other guy”. In a future feature each candidate will write about their party platform. We wanted to attempt to create a bit of a debate between the candidates. The Progressive Conservatives advised that they “will not be participating in the first half of our request. “We will get back to you ” they advised “with the 2nd half of the request regarding the PC Party Platform and what it will do for Ontario and for Burlington.” Here is what the Liberals had to say. The New Democratic comments appeared earlier.

BURLINGTON, ON September 12, 2011 – For weeks now, on doorsteps and events all over Burlington, I’ve been working hard to bring the message about our party’s positive approach to health care, our world-beating education system and the green jobs of tomorrow.

But here’s my main message for Burlington: it’s hospitals – not highways.

Jo Brant Hospital – not the mid-Peninsula highway

True to form, the Ontario Liberal government has approved the redevelopment plan for Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital, while clearly stating that the mid-Peninsula highway that PC leader Tim Hudak wants so badly, will not pave over north Burlington’s valuable agricultural and sensitive environmental lands.

Karmel Sakran in front of his campaign office, which is located north of the QEW – a change from the usual campaign office locations on Fairview.  Sakran says the decision to be north of the QEW was strategic.

Karmel Sakran in front of his campaign office, which is located north of the QEW – a change from the usual campaign office locations on Fairview. Sakran says the decision to be north of the QEW was strategic.

The recent Jo Brant Hospital announcement was a long-awaited one that will benefit all Burlington residents. It came after two years of hard work by hospital officials, the City of Burlington, citizens and a group of private donors.

Rather than celebrate this decision as a good for Burlington, the opposition PCs and NDP chose to attack the efforts made by their fellow citizens, calling the announcement’s timing pure politics. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As someone who sat as a Hospital board member for five years, I know the province requires a “state of readiness” before providing capital funding for a project of this nature. As a community, we rose to the challenge and did just that – and within the all-important five year funding window.

That we now have a commitment for provincial funding is a huge step forward for Burlington, one that I’d hate to see disrupted or revoked by a Hudak-led Tory government, a regime that favours highways over hospitals.

We build hospitals – not close them like the PCs

This Liberal government builds – not closes – hospitals. In its first two terms, this government has built or launched 18 hospital projects. Compare that to the previous Mike Harris Tory government, when Mr. Hudak was a minister, which closed 28 hospitals.

As a founding board member of Burlington’s Carpenter Hospice, whose 10 bedrooms provide end-of-life care to about 110 residents annually in a home-like setting, I was delighted when our government increased its funding, August 31. The additional $320,000 added to base funding will strengthen Carpenter’s nursing and personal support services and enhance its ability to deliver palliative care in Burlington.

We strongly focus on education

The government’s relentless focus on education is paying off in our schools and the economy. Test scores are up: 69 per cent of grades 3 and 6 students are mastering reading, writing and math – a 15 point increase since 2003. We’re expanding online math tutoring for students from grade 7 to 10 and doubling teacher education to two years to give student teachers more practical classroom experience. Ontario Liberals are the only party with a plan to keep students on track, from full-day kindergarten right through post-secondary and into a good job.

Home care strengthened

The government continues to strengthen health care by bringing back house calls – a boon for some Ontarians with ongoing medical issues that make it hard for them to arrange office visits. Seniors especially will benefit because it will be easier to stay in their own home and remain independent while enjoying better health through regular check-ups and medical attention.

Tuition grants for university & college students

By creating a tuition grant that takes 30% off the average undergraduate tuition in Ontario, the Liberal government is moving Ontario forward by keeping the cost of post-secondary education within everyone’s reach. Annually, the grant will save families $1,600 per student in university and $730 in college.

Contrast this with the Harris-Hudak PCs, who cut post-secondary education by $435 million, slashed student aid by 41%, allowed fees to skyrocket by 67% and provided no help to middle-income families.

Karmel Sakran is a lawyer by profession and so it wasn’t all that difficult to convince the provincial attorney general to pay the city a visit.  It was apparently a relaxing day for all.

Karmel Sakran is a lawyer by profession and so it wasn’t all that difficult to convince the provincial attorney general to pay the city a visit. It was apparently a relaxing day for all.

The Hudak PCs’ $14 billion hole in their platform means they won’t help middle-class families afford post-secondary education, and will make deep cuts that send tuition through the roof, again. The current NDP platform barely mentions education but their legacy is clear; they were the party that eliminated up-front student grants, before we brought them back.

Let’s build on our progress & continue to strengthen Ontario

No question: Ontario needs the strong, steady hand of the McGuinty Liberal government to keep moving forward.

Over the past two terms, this government has hired thousands of doctors and nurses, built 18 new hospitals and improved access to primary care. Our health investments helped us go from having the longest to the shortest surgical wait times in Canada and 1.3 million more Ontarians now have a family doctor.

We lowered early-year class sizes, improved school buildings and introduced the continent’s first full-day kindergarten program. We’re also increasing post-secondary attainment by adding 60,000 new spaces – including three new undergraduate satellite campuses.

And to further help seniors remain in their own homes – in safety and dignity – we’re introducing a Healthy Home Renovation Tax Credit for things like ramps and walk-in baths.

Our platform also promises to create 50,000 new clean-energy jobs through Ontario’s world-leading FIT program. And we’re reducing electricity bills by ten per cent through the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit.

Liberal platform fully audited. PC & NDP platforms: hundreds of uncosted promises

The Hudak PCs’ platform – with its $14 billion hole – has 229 uncosted promises. And that will mean deep cuts to health care and education. The NDP has 119 uncosted promises in their platform and a crushing $9 billion tax increase.

Our platform features just 45 new, fully costed commitments to help Ontario families stay on track.

We’re the only party with a platform that has been audited by an economist – Scotiabank Chief Economist Warren Jestin – who confirmed that our numbers add up.

McGuinty Liberals support Burlington commuters

I also don’t hear any positive emanations from the PCs or NDP about the major transit and highway programs that have helped Burlington commuters go to and from their jobs. What we do know is that between 1999 and 2003, the PC government contributed nothing to GO transit leaving municipalities to carry the load. During the NDP time in office, they invested less than a third of what our government has invested and were the first to privatize highways.

Since 2003, the City of Burlington has received more than $48.8 million to support public transit plus nearly $13 million in gas tax funding. As well, the government added 600 new parking spaces at the Burlington GO Station, new weekday bus trips from McMaster to the Burlington GO, and a seasonal weekend and holiday Toronto-Niagara Falls train service with one of the stops in Burlington.

We’ve committed to $434.1 million to Halton Region for highway improvements since 2003. All this with a dedicated gas tax to municipalities. Not only are we improving transportation in Burlington and Halton Region, we’ve brought in tougher penalties for drinking and driving, speed limiters on most large trucks and banned the use of hand held devices while driving.

Powerful reasons to vote Liberal on October 6th.




Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

1 comment to For Burlington, Liberals choose hospitals, not highways.