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Ontario Health Coalition planning all out war to save health care

The Ontario Health Coalition has big plans to try and prevent pending health care cuts.

Coalition Executive Director Natalie Mehra was in Windsor Wednesday night to meet with the Windsor Health Coalition and brainstorm to save health units, ambulance stations and other health care cuts such as cuts to long-term care homes.

The strategy could include a September cavalcade rolling from Windsor to Chatham to London, stadium rallies in Chatham, and lobbying local politicians in Windsor, all in an effort to get the message out before the federal election in October.

Peter Pellerito, Windsor Health Coalition member and chair of Unifor Local 444 Retirees Chapter, said it's time to mobilize the troops to prevent the privatization of health care.

"We need to plan for the future. Right now the need is for health care and education. Those are the things that are important," said Pellerito.

Pellerito said MPPs taking nearly six months off this summer should take a pay cut and put the money back into health care.

"When you're off for six months you're not representing us. So, I don't know what [Premier] Ford is doing because he isn't doing his job here in Ontario," he added.

Pellerito said preliminary internal Unifor Canada polling shows that 40 per cent of those union members nationwide are surprisingly leaning towards voting for the federal Conservatives in the October election.

"They think for some reason that the Conservatives are going to help us. We have the results from previous Conservatives governments in this province and in this country. They've always taken working people backwards, always," Pellerito said.

The provincial government is reducing the number of public health units from 35 to 10 by 2021 and merging the 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and six provincial health agencies, including Cancer Care Ontario and eHealth Ontario, into a “Super Agency”.

It is also merging 59 paramedic services in Ontario into 10.

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