With the provincial election less than a month away, local candidates will be quizzed this week on how they will address health care issues in the region.
The Chatham-Kent Health Coalition is partnering with the Chatham-Kent Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) to present an all-candidates debate focusing on health care for the upcoming provincial election.
The debate will be held on Thursday, May 10 from 7pm-9pm at Smitty’s Family Restaurant in Chatham.
Chatham-Kent Health Coalition Chairperson Shirley Roebuck thinks some of the key issues at the debate will be the funding of healthcare and hospitals.
"Ontario hospitals have been underfunded for the last 20 years and we're certainly seeing the effects of that here in Chatham-Kent with the wait times for surgery and the wait time in ER," she says.
Roebuck will be attending the debate with Betty Oldershaw, the regional board member for the RNAO.
Three Chatham-Kent-Leamington candidates have confirmed they will be attending: Rick Nicholls (Ontario PC party), Jordan McGrail (Ontario NDP), and Mark Vercouteren (Green Party). Organizers say Chatham-Kent-Leamington Liberal Party candidate Margaret Schleier Stahl has also been contacted along with independent candidate for Chatham-Kent-Leamington Drew Simpson and Lambton-Kent-Middlesex Libertarian Party candidate Brad Greulich.
Blackburn News reporter Natalia Vega will be moderating the event.
"Health care, in general, is one of the big topics for discussion in this election and we can't count on promises made by the present government when there is a chance that another party will be forming a new government in June," explains Roebuck.
She says people must make sure their votes count.
"I simply encourage people to come out and listen to what each candidate has to say so that in June, when they go to vote, they can make an informed decision about health care," she says.