News CUPE poll finds Nipissing and Sault Ste. Marie residents oppose healthcare changes SHARE ON: Rocco Frangione, staff Tuesday, Apr. 16th, 2019 A poll by CUPE shows that in the provincial ridings of Nipissing and Sault Ste. Marie, which are both held by Progressive Conservatives, there is very little support for massive healthcare changes the Ford government is planning. Fred Hahn, the President of CUPE Ontario, says when Doug Ford was campaigning in last year’s provincial election he made no mention about the restructuring he had planned for the healthcare system. “So we wanted to know if there was support for that kind of restructuring,” Hahn said. The union president says the support isn’t there. The results of both ridings show 72 percent don’t support healthcare restructuring. Another 77 percent of those polled don’t believe the Super Health Agency the government plans to create will help healthcare while 76 percent don’t believe that merging hospitals will end hallway medicine. Hahn also says the poll reveals 61 percent of the people don’t believe merging healthcare providers will save money. Hahn released the results in North Bay Tuesday morning where about 250 union leaders from the hospital sector are holding an annual conference. Some of the delegates at a healthcare convention North Bay Hahn says he’s not surprised by the results. He says healthcare has gone through 10 years of austerity and it’s successive governments not putting enough money into health that resulted in hallway medicine. Hahn says Ford promised to end hallway medicine during the election campaign but adds “this legislation and none of these measures does anything to move in that direction.” “And people aren’t fooled,” he said. “That’s why three-quarters of the people polled understand none of these measures will help to end hallway medicine in their community.” The poll found the strongest respondents among people aged 30 to 50. Hahn says women in particular felt very strongly about the negative impact the changes could bring. “We know in many families women coordinate healthcare,” he said. “They’re responsible not just for the healthcare in their families like the children, but also their extended families and their parents.” Hahn says people believe that having public and affordable healthcare in their community is “incredibly important”. As part of the North Bay conference, the union leaders are planning a noon rally outside Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli’s Main Street East office on Wednesday.