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Concerned County should fill 10 buses to Queen’s Park

WEWANTOURHOSPITALBACKI am sharing the Ontario Health Coalition’s mission and mandate statements so that we may all have a better understanding of who they are.

As a member, I certainly appreciate their tireless efforts in helping communities like ours improve or save their healthcare services.

In the last seven years executive director Natalie Mehra and her staff have held three meetings in Picton to listen to the healthcare concerns of  County residents.  At the most recent meeting, the Ontario Health Coalition, along with Michael McMahon and Barb Proctor as speaker took the initative to organize the event at the Picton United Church in late February. I think that the community benefited from this meeting as it was the beginning of Dave Gray’s very effective POOCH campaign to save our hospital.
This  is a community that has clearly  come together to help save their local hospital. I believe that we will have TEN buses travelling from the County to Queen’s Park on April 17.


Ontario Health Coalition
Mission and Mandate
Our primary goal is to protect and improve our public health care system.  We work to honour and strengthen the principles of the Canada Health Act. We are led by our shared commitment to core values of equality, democracy, social inclusion and social justice; and by the five principles of the Act: universality; comprehensiveness; portability; accessibility and public administration. We are a non-partisan non-profit public interest activist coalition and network.

To this end, we empower the members of our constituent organizations to become actively engaged in the making of public policy on matters related to our public health care system and healthy communities.  We seek to provide to member organizations and the broader public ongoing information about our health care system and its programs and services, and to protect our public health system from threats such as cuts, delisting and privatization. Through public education and support for public debate, we contribute to the maintenance and extension of a system of checks and balances that is essential to good decision-making. We are an extremely collaborative organization, actively working with others to share resources and information.

Who We Are
The Ontario Health Coalition is comprised of a Board of Directors, committees of the Board as approved in the Coalition’s annual Action Plan, Local Coalitions, member organizations and individual members. Currently the Ontario Health Coalition represents more than 400 member organizations and a network of Local Health Coalitions and individual members. Our members include: seniors’ groups; patients’ organizations; unions; nurses and health professionals’ organizations; physicians and physician organizations that support the public health system; non-profit community agencies; ethnic and cultural organizations; residents’ and family councils; retirees; students; poverty and equality-seeking groups; women’s organizations, and others.

Ontario Health Coalition
15 Gervais Drive, Suite 305
Toronto, Ontario M3C 1Y8
Tel: 416-441-2502
Fax: 416-441-4073

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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  1. Wolf Braun says:

    At this point in time m york all I can say is “keep trying”.

    Government is not democracy ! Democracy is the people !

    Let’s leave this for another time m york. But do keep trying to reach members of Council, the Mayor and staff.

    All are welcome on the buses on the 17th..

  2. Wolf Braun says:

    Jan writes: “I still do not understand why the service clubs and local businesses have not been approached to help pay for these buses! As I have mentioned before, these people have as much vested interest in the Prince Edward County Hospital as anyone! Good luck filling 10 buses! Personally, I feel you are going to do well to fill half that amount!”
    Dave Gray is a member of the Lion’s Club. Members from Rotary and other service clubs came out to the first meeting on March 13th. At that time, these service club members all volunteered to go back to their respective clubs to brief the members on the April 17th bus trip. It was also agreed by those present at the meeting to invite “everyone”. P.O.O.C.H. wants ordinary residents of The County to come out on the 17th so that we can put a face to our County Hospital.

    It was also agreed that we would accept donations from anyone, including service clubs. It was decided not to allow service clubs, politicians or any other organization to put an organization’s name to this event. It’s about the people of The County and PECMH.

    Once again it was also decided on March 13th that anyone who needed help with the cost of the trip would be handled individually and with discretion.

    These are not decisions made by one or two people. These decisions are made by people who have attended all 3 meetings to date.

  3. m york says:

    Wolf, I have tried to reach the Mayor but with no luck??? Its just like everything else he just seems to be there for the paycheck and to hell with what the people believe is important. I think that council/mayor have lost sight of what there job descriptions are TO SPEAK ON BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE. Instead they seem to be wrapped up in issues that they shouldn’t be…

  4. Jan says:

    I still do not understand why the service clubs and local businesses have not been approached to help pay for these buses! As I have mentioned before, these people have as much vested interest in the Prince Edward County Hospital as anyone! Good luck filling 10 buses! Personally, I feel you are going to do well to fill half that amount!

  5. Wolf Braun says:

    Call or write to our Mayor, Peter Mertens and ask him why he seems to be silent on our hospital. You can contact our Mayor at his Office:
    613-476-2148 OR Email

    You can also see how active Mayor John Williams, Quinte West is about his hospital in the Trentonian here…

    OR here….

    P.O.O.C.H. is placing ads in our 3 papers to help fill those buses to deliver our message to the Premier and the MOH that “We Want Our Hospital Back”.

    We continue to say that anyone who feels that $25. per person is a burden but wishes to travel to Queen’s Park on the bus on April 17th to please call Norma at 476-3166 and we will ensure that you are on the bus.

  6. Mark says:

    Lots of couples could well use the $50.00 to put a small downpayment on their water bills!

  7. Marnie says:

    Since when does a taxi to Belleville cost $440.? Like it or not the $25. needed for a bus seat is not affordable for some people. Couples wishing to go would be paying $50. which is not chump change for those on fixed incomes. No one can dispute the need to charge enough per seat to cover the cost of the buses but it is wrong to try to hang a guilt trip on those who find the $25. too expensive.

  8. Dave Gray says:

    If you wish to support the ‘We Want Our Hospital Back’ campaign at Queen’s Park on Wednesday, April 17 and would like assistance with the ticket price, call Norma at 613 476 3166. Confidence assured.

  9. T Garland says:

    For those who think $25.00 is to much for the trip to Tornto is a lot wait until (if they have no transportation to get to Belleville hospital) and they have to pay 440.00 plus dollars for a taxi. POOCH needs the support from all county residents to stop this Government from reducing services at our Hospital.

  10. Marnie says:

    Who thought up the name P.O.O.C.H.?? Surely we are fighting to save our hospital not Crufts or the Canadian Kennel Club. Buttons with Save Our Hospital on them would have been more to the point. As for the mayor – where is he when you need him? Could he not name a representative to go in his place? Given the seriousness of this issue that bus trip should be his priority on April 17.

  11. Wolf Braun says:

    I don’t think I missed your point at all. Everyone is welcome to support P.O.O.C.H. and travel on the bus to Queen’s Park on the 17th..

    As to the Mayor and Council, P.O.O.C.H. members have made deputations to them about our trip to Queen’s Park. We’re hoping that some of them will travel with us. Our Mayor has indicated he will be away that day and unable to join us.

  12. Jan says:

    I think Mr. Braun, you have missed the point. Re-read what I wrote!! Contributions should be accepted from everyone in the County not just the so-called “ordinary” person. Ms. Lane, you are correct. We need to be fighting to de-amalgamate our hospital. I think that
    the Gravenhurst hospital broke away to go as a stand-alone years ago. The Mayor of Trenton has been very outspoken about breaking away from QHC. Why is our Mayor not getting together with Mayor Williams to pursue this objective?

  13. Wolf Braun says:

    >>>”Surely their members are part of our community and as community-minded individuals care very much about the future of our hospital.”

    No one who is volunteering for P.O.O.C.H. has ever said or even suggested that service club members or members from any organization do not care about PECMH. Nor has anyone ever said that such members are not welcome to travel on the buses to Queen’s Park on the 17th. To say otherwise is simply false.

  14. Wolf Braun says:

    The goal when in Toronto on the 17th is to get an audience with the Premier and with the Minister of Health. The first request was sent this past Thursday. This will be followed up on several more times before the 17th.

    As to amalgamation… there is precedence that Ministers can reverse the process. I’m not an expert on how that happens. But it has happened and there is precedence.

  15. Wolf Braun says:

    I agree Fran. All very passionate songs!

  16. Doris Lane says:

    I have read this all over a couple of times and I want to know what they are going to do when they get to Toroto
    As Dr Taylor says we have to get the hospital back under our own control but how do we do this. I have no idea how it can be done but there are people smarter than I am that must have some ideas. That is what I would like to help out on if someone knos how to do.

  17. Marnie says:

    Go, Jan, go! You are perfectly correct. Why be uppity about asking for some support from local service organizations? Surely their members are part of our community and as community-minded individuals care very much about the future of our hospital. All this posturing about avoiding alignment with service clubs etc is ridiculous. We are all fighting for the same thing. Why reject the help of anyone willing to support the cause?

  18. Jan says:

    In response to Mr. Braun, members of the local service clubs as well as the local business people of the County use the Picton hospital just as much as the “ordinary” person and in fact, I think most of them would be insulted to find themselves not classified as “ordinary”! This is petty and narrow minded to exclude the local business people and the service clubs from possibly donating funds that would pay for these buses. So in reply to your question of who should be paying the $1200 for each bus, I have just answered it!!
    Get off your high horse and take all contributions since everyone should be working together to preserve Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital! NO exclusions!!

  19. Fran Renoy says:

    If you click on to the Home page of Countylive and then scroll to the bottom of the page you will come to You Tube
    If you then scroll through you will come to three video songs about the hospital that have been posted for two months The first one is “Nine More Beds” by Terry Shortt.The next one is is “Restructure This-The PECM Hospital Song” by Jeannette Arsenault. The third one is “Delhi Ride” by the Frere Brothers. They are well worth watching as they are all very ingenious in their own way. I for one appreciate the fact that all of these songwriters are very passionate about their hospital and have taken the time to write these very poignant songs.

  20. Wolf Braun says:

    This is a terrific and fun song about Closing Picton Hospital…. give it a listen.

  21. Wolf Braun says:

    Dave Gray and other members organizing the P.O.O.C.H. trip to Queen’s Park on the 17th have agreed that if anyone who wants to be on the bus and needs a break on the $25. fee should contact either Dave, Willem Maas or myself. My email is

    P.O.O.C.H. wants to fill seats on the buses.

  22. Marnie says:

    What have I done about supporting our local hospital? Well, for starters Wolf, I was born in the old hospital (I’ll bet that was long before you put foot on county soil and took up the cause of PECMH) and for a time I volunteered in the gift shop at the new one. I’ve sat at the bedsides of family members and friends who have died in the present hospital and I’ve used its services myself on occasion. I’ve made donations to our hospital and I’ve been present at several of the public meetings of local residents alarmed by the threats it now faces. I believe you arrived late at the dance? Kudos to you for your role in helping to organize this bus trip but don’t be so quick to underestimate the contributions of others, myself among them, who were using and supporting this hospital long before you decided to make the county your home. If there are couples who feel that they cannot afford $50. for two seats on the bus that does not make them less concerned about the future of our hospital than you are. It just makes them a little more ordinary financially. Oh. BTW I did buy a POOCH button.

  23. Wolf Braun says:

    Marnie writes: “That doesn’t fly Wolf… Our “ordinary” is just a little different than yours perhaps. For us the $50. a couple that has been requested is quite a bit of money. I buy the part where we are all ordinary in terms of the things in life we feel are important and worth preserving but I suspect that when it comes to what we consider a small sum of money there is a big gap. In addition to the bus fare you can probably add the cost of a couple of meals. It’s not a cheap trip and certainly not affordable for many.”

    Marnie…. have you been to any of the 3 meetings at the Wellington United Church? Have you sent an email or called anyone with P.O.O.C.H. about the issue of bus fare? Would you and others volunteer to contact businesses, council,service clubs, etc. for donations to subsidize the cost of bus fare to close this gap?

    We are getting donations coming in that will go towards helping people who can not afford the $25. We want to ensure that everyone who wants to go does go. BUT, we are not at a stage where we know that we can do that yet. The organizing group made a decision to not accept donations from groups that want to have a political voice in P.O.O.C.H. We want this to be about “we the people of PEC want our hospital back”. Please come to the next meeting and help…. we need all the help we can get.

    … Wolf

  24. m york says:

    I would suggest that the CAO/Mayor cough up a dollar or two to help out with this as I’m sure they are about the only ones who can afford to do so. Its a hard pill to swallow knowing what this man makes. A man who flew into OUR town and forcing his rhetoric onto us. A man who says everyone will be happy, I believe in succession planning. Well where is it Mr.Dewing I haven’t heard from one person who is happy with you or your choices (other then the Mayor and a couple councillors, but they have no choice cause they hired him) I do believe that a vote of no confidence is in order.

  25. Marnie says:

    That doesn’t fly Wolf. When Jan or I refer to “ordinary” people I think we mean the average county person making minimum wage or a little more. Our “ordinary” is just a little different than yours perhaps. For us the $50. a couple that has been requested is quite a bit of money. I buy the part where we are all ordinary in terms of the things in life we feel are important and worth preserving but I suspect that when it comes to what we consider a small sum of money there is a big gap. In addition to the bus fare you can probably add the cost of a couple of meals. It’s not a cheap trip and certainly not affordable for many.

  26. Wolf Braun says:

    Jan…. with less than 3 weeks to go to April 17th who do you suggest should pay for the buses that cost $1200 each? Even us “ordinary” people have tight budgets. We definitely do not want to become partisan and beholden to any organization…. this is about “we the people” of the County. If someone has a financial hardship and wants to go on the bus we will try and figure out how to make that happen. Advertising a lower rate is simply not financially prudent at this stage of the process. Many have already told us that we should stay with the $25.

  27. Marnie says:

    It’s the same old story. The cuts are made at the wrong end. The real waste is in the salaries of the bloated administrative groups.

  28. Doris Lane says:

    I remember when Linns came into being. We got along fine before they came and with the salary they get and have no direct contact with patient care, it is time we got rid of them.
    There are a lot of administrators in a lot of organizations that we do not need. How about our own CAO who makes around $170,000.00 a year with $8,000.00 tax breaks. I doubt that we need him at all.

  29. Jan says:

    I just read that the head of the LHIN Paul Huras of the SouthEast Local Health Integration Network’s salary is $309,337. I also read recently that there were 40 members of the LHIN.
    What would be their total salaries? This is ridiculous that the Ministry of Health cannot eliminate this group and deal directly with the hospitals.

  30. Jan says:

    I think the “ordinary” people need to communicate to the seniors of the County that assistance will be provided if they wish to go on the bus and find the $25 too excessive. This should be communicated in the local papers. They are the main ones available in the daytime to fill up the buses.

  31. Wolf Braun says:

    If any senior wishing to travel on the P.O.O.C.H. bus to Queen’s Park on the 17th but finds the cost a hit on their budget, please email me and I’ll see what we can do for you. We really want to fill ten buses…..

  32. Administrator says:

    Dave Gray would like to state “The bus trip on April 17 is organized by P.O.O.C.H. (patrons of the County Hospital) and they insist that no political party, service club or any other organization, will be allowed to charter a bus under P.O.O.C.H. for their purposes. All donations will come from individual supporters only. This movement was created by ordinary people, supported by ordinary people, for ordinary people, to save our hospital. Will provide assistance to any seniors wishing to go if necessary.”

  33. Jan says:

    Why can’t some of the service clubs and businesses in the County subsidize the buses to allow the cost down to $15 per person? Then, you might have 10 bus loads. $30 for a couple is a fair price to pay for the protest. $50 for a couple is a little too much for many
    people in the County especially senior citizens who would be available to go during the daytime but might not be able to pay $25 each. Especially now that their water bills are going up by 20%!!!!

  34. Doris Lane says:

    Lets get the control of our hospital back to the County–we do not need Belleville to tell us what to do. Lets get the kitchen back so we do not have to import meals from where?
    When we had all the services back in the 70’s we operated in the black.
    Read dr. Taylors letter to the editor in the WEllington Times

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