Ten former provincial health ministers that span across several parties sent a joint letter to the Ontario government on Thursday morning requesting the Progressive Conservatives to reverse millions in public health cuts.
The letter is addressed to Minister Christine Elliott and signed by six Liberals, three New Democrats and one from PC Party — all of them predecessors saying the province is “at risk” due to the healthcare funding chops.
“Traditionally, Ministers of Health have avoided commenting on the policies of their successors,” the letter reads, adding that health has traditionally been seen as a “non-partisan issue”, but “this attack on public health has prompted us to break out silence.”
“This cutting of public health services cannot go forward. It puts the prosperity of our communities and of our entire Province at risk. Funding must be restored.”
“We implore you, Minister Elliott, to stop these drastic cuts and find a way to move forward that doesn’t risk our public health services,” the former ministers write.
Dr. Eric Hoskins, the most recent former health minister under the previous Liberal administration, Deb Matthews, David Caplan and George Smitherman represent every minister tasked with healthcare since 2003.
Ex- Minister Dennis Timbrell served in the role from 1977 to 1982 under Premier Bill Davis. The New Democrats all served during the days when Bob Rae was premier.
The former lawmakers argue in their unprecedented letter that the moves by the current government under Premier Doug Ford make “no economic sense.”
“Public health helps Ontarians stay healthy, so they don’t need to go to the doctor, or a hospital, saving time and money,” they write.
“If the government wants to end hallway medicine, as you have pledged, one of the best ways to do that is to actually invest more, not less, in public health.”
The provincial government has yet to respond.