Ted Arnott, MPP
Wellington – Halton Hills
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 25, 2011
MPP Arnott holds government’s feet to the fire on hospitals
(Queen’s Park) – On the very first week of the new Provincial Parliament, Wellington-Halton Hills
MPP Ted Arnott reiterated his support for the hospital capital projects in Centre Wellington and
He rose in the House on November 24th, calling on the McGuinty Government to keep the promises
it made to those communities prior to the October 6th Provincial election.
“I will hold the Government to the commitments it made to my constituents in August of this year,”
Mr. Arnott told the Legislature.
“In fact, doing all that I can to hold the Government’s feet to the fire on their promises to support our
hospital projects, is one of my highest priorities in this 40th Provincial Parliament,” he added.
On August 25th, the Minister of the Environment announced a new Groves Memorial Community
Hospital would be built in Centre Wellington. The Minister told reporters that 2014 was the target
year to tender the project.
On August 31st, the Minister of Health announced a provincial grant of up to $2.6 million dollars to
support the Georgetown Hospital renovation project.
At the pre-election announcements, both Ministers publicly acknowledged the work Mr. Arnott had
done to advocate for the projects.
Mr. Arnott, in turn, thanked the Government as well as hospital staff and volunteers, and gave credit
to the local municipal partners.
(Attached: Hansard, November 24, 2011.)
– 30 –
Mr. Rob Leone: I move that, in the opinion of this House, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario
require Premier McGuinty to table, by March 1, 2012, a specific and detailed plan that outlines the
current stage of the development process, the timelines for proceeding to any subsequent stage, the
deadlines for project completion, and how the government plans to pay for the construction and
operation of all the hospital expansion projects promised before and during the 2011 Ontario general
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Mr. Leone has moved private member’s notice of motion number
1. Pursuant to standing member 98, the member has 12 minutes for his presentation.
Mr. Rob Leone: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This motion that I table today addresses the cynicism that
currently plagues our democracy. With fewer than 50% of voters choosing to vote in this past
election, it is incumbent upon this 40th Parliament to stem the tide of voter discontent.
As I was going from door to door in my riding, I frequently heard from people disappointed by the
fact that politicians don’t keep their promises, that we are all the same and that nothing will ever
change. Our chance for change is today, Mr. Speaker, by supporting this motion.
Ontarians are tired of governments that do not keep the promises they make, and we will hold them
to account. That’s what the Constitution asks us to do and that’s why this House can send a very
clear message to Ontarians through its very first private member’s ballot item, which I was fortunate
enough to draw.
In my riding of Cambridge, there have been several announcements and groundbreaking
ceremonies for Cambridge Memorial Hospital, but we are still without a hospital expansion on a
project that was supposed to begin in 2005. In fact, right after the 2007 general election, the
member for Kitchener Centre participated in a groundbreaking ceremony. At that time, the hospital
was scheduled to be completed in 2010. Here we are at the end of 2011 and there’s still no
expansion for Cambridge Memorial Hospital. Not only that, Mr. Speaker, but no cheque has been
forthcoming. There are no cranes, dump trucks or other mighty machines, as my son likes to call
them. The people in Cambridge and North Dumfries have been left out.
There’s a pattern with this government. Funding announcements keep happening mere weeks
before an election-all in an attempt to save or gain seats for this government. They seem to like to
dangle emotional infrastructure projects in front of voters, with the hope of better electoral results.
Cambridge is not unique, Mr. Speaker. In fact, in addition to the Cambridge announcement, between
April and September 2011, the Ontario Liberal government held about two dozen other hospital
expansion project announcements. It’s time for Dalton McGuinty and the Ontario Liberal government to come clean and submit to the
Legislature a detailed plan that outlines the costs, a timeline for completion and how the government
plans to pay for the construction and operation of the following hospitals: Cambridge Memorial
Hospital in the great riding of Cambridge; Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital in Burlington; Brockville
General Hospital; Groves Memorial Community Hospital; Hawkesbury and District General Hospital;
South Bruce-Grey Health Centre in Kincardine-
Mr. Rob Leone: I notice the member for Huron-Bruce applauding that, and she’s going to have a
couple more items on this list-Providence Care in Kingston; Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga;
Wingham and District Hospital in north Huron; the University of Ottawa Heart Institute; the Orléans
Family Health Hub in Ottawa; St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital in St. Thomas; North York General
Hospital in Toronto; Toronto East General Hospital, again in Toronto; West Park Healthcare Centre
in Toronto; Toronto Grace Health Care Centre in Toronto; Etobicoke General Hospital, again in
Toronto; York Central Hospital in Vaughan; North Wellington Health Care Corp. in north Wellington;
Windsor Regional Hospital in Windsor; Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital in Windsor; and Grey Bruce
Health Services in Southampton.
All these hospital expansion projects were promised before or during the 2011 Ontario general
election. There are likely more. They were made, in advance of an election, to help save or gain
Liberal seats. The member for Huron-Bruce, for example, had three hospital expansion projects in
her riding alone.
Funding for an expansion at Cambridge Memorial Hospital is just one example of Dalton McGuinty’s
many broken promises, and it’s time for McGuinty to be held accountable for the promises that he
has made in the recent provincial election.
Cambridge is not unique. As we can all see, Mr. Speaker, we have seen far too many instances with
this Premier where he makes promises leading up to and during a campaign and then backs away
from them right after. Quite frankly, I remain sceptical and I don’t believe the government will follow
through with its commitments. Here are just a few reasons why.
First, the province’s finances are in terrible shape. We’re facing an unprecedented $16-billion deficit.
This is troubling because, rather than doing something about it, like accepting our amendment for a
public sector wage freeze, they pat themselves on the back for increasing our deficit by $2 billion
What’s worse is that this government has the habit of taking all the credit and none of the blame
when it comes to everything they do. Just listen to all the excuses they listed in the throne speech
and repeated in yesterday’s economic update. They blamed everything and everyone except
themselves for not having enough money to fund our priorities.
Ontarians rightly think this government will conveniently break their promises on hospital expansions
because the blame lies somewhere else. In other words, they’re setting themselves up to break
promises with this blaming rhetoric.
Secondly, the Drummond commission is likely to ask for the Ontario government to curb increases
in health spending. This is important to note because, assuming the government indeed has the
money to construct these hospitals, with increases in health care funding being reduced, how will
they actually operate the facilities they’ve created? I have to thank the member for Barrie for highlighting this fact for me, where he and other members
on this side of the House met with the hospital administrators in his riding and noted that there is
serious concern about the operational costs not being forwarded for their newly built hospital. That’s
Lastly, Mr. Speaker, this Liberal government has a history of cancelling half-built infrastructure
projects. If they can cancel a half-built power plant in Mississauga, what will stop them from
cancelling hospital projects that don’t even have a shovel in the ground?
In this motion I am simply asking the government to ensure that these expansion projects, projects
which people care deeply about, are not going to be broken again. We’re asking the government to
tell us what taxes are going to go up and what spending cuts they’re willing to make to ensure that
Ontarians get the health care they both need and want.
Ontarians, especially residents of Cambridge and North Dumfries and users of Cambridge Memorial
Hospital, have come to learn that there’s a lot of uncertainty when this government announces
funding. We have quickly learned that funding for hospital expansions, no matter how many times
they are announced, are never concrete. This is why it is imperative that this motion pass pass this
House. It is time that the Premier is held accountable by the House to ensure that he fulfills the
promises he has made. This is why I’m asking my colleagues from all parties to join me in
supporting this motion.
It is clear that voters expect their politicians to keep their promises. What isn’t clear is how the
Premier plans to pay for these projects and how he’s going to afford these promises. It’s time for the
Premier to come clean to Ontarians today and tell voters how he intends to keep his promises, or he
must tell voters why he is voting against our hospitals, including Cambridge Memorial.
The government can try to push the blame onto the side of wanting more spending at a time when
the province cannot afford it. However, I would just like to remind this House that it was this
government that made these hospital expansion promises. All I’m looking for is a clear and detailed
plan that outlines the costs, a timeline for completion and how the government plans to pay for the
construction and operation of all the hospitals that I have previously mentioned.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): I’d like to remind members that we don’t use the personal
name of a member; it’s “Premier” or “Minister” or the riding name, please. Thank you.
The member from Nickel Belt.
M France Gélinas: Thank you so much, Mr. Speaker, and I must say that you look extremely
good sitting in that chair, although you don’t seem to have the black robe. What happened there?
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The tailor is away-
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The tailor will be returning. Thank you, member.
M France Gélinas: I see. Now this is clear.
I would like to echo what has been said by the honourable member. The member for Cambridge
asked something that is confronting each and every one of us right now: the frustration that we feel,
on this side of the House, anyway, and the frustrations that come when government breaks its
promises, when government plays political games on the backs of hopeful communities and citizens
The motion in front of us today asks us to take a moment and consider-really it asks us to add up
the many promises that the Liberals made while they were on the campaign trail. While they were
hoping for votes, what did they promise? Once you go past the photo ops and the quick campaign
stops, the communities are still hoping that those announcements you made in their cities-you know
those great big cheques that people hold? They remember those cheques and the amount of money
that is written on those great big cheques, and they expect the money to come.
The member from Cambridge wants you to add this up. Bring all those extra-large-size cheques you
photo-opped with through the campaign and add them up. This is what he’s asking you to do. I don’t
think this is something that difficult to do, and I think this is something that is worthwhile.
There is reason for concern. The Liberal government has been in power for the last eight years. It’s
not like they have always delivered on the health care promises they made, and the member from
Cambridge is a living example of a promise that was made to him-to his community-that has yet to
Well, we did add up the numbers on those great big plastic cheques that were photo-opped through
the campaign-the ones that I and Miriam, our very capable researcher, were able to track down,
Of course, there’s Cambridge Memorial Hospital, their main capital redevelopment project in
Cambridge: The big cheque said $200 million.
Then there’s Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital phase 1 redevelopment in Burlington: the big cheque
on that one, $312 million. You all have your BlackBerrys-the part that allows you to add and
subtract, the little built-in calculator? You will need a calculator by the time I am done reading these
There is Brockville General Hospital: the mental health, the complex continuing care unit, as well as
the rehab. The big cheque on that one: $100 million.
Then there’s Groves Memorial Community Hospital. That’s a replacement hospital in Greenfield.
The big cheque for that one: $136 million.
Then there’s L’Hôpital Général de Hawkesbury et District, the hospital redevelopment: $98 million.
The South Bruce Grey Health Centre-that’s their phase 1 emergency department and ambulatory
care area in Kincardine. The great big cheque in that one read “$100 million.”
We have Providence Care, the King Street West site redevelopment; that’s the one in Kingston. That
was a big, big, plastic cheque; “$350 million” was printed on that one. Halton Healthcare Services: That’s the Milton redevelopment in the town of Milton. We don’t have a
number on that one, but it talks about a major redevelopment.
Credit Valley Hospital: That’s a priority area redevelopment, the expansion in Mississauga. This one
also has been promised; numbers to come.
Wingham and District Hospital, the phase 1 redevelopment in north Huron-I didn’t pronounce that
properly. We have numbers yet to come in the millions of dollars.
Let’s go back to the University of Ottawa Heart Institute that my colleagues talked about. Cardiac life
support services in Ottawa: The big cheque on that one reads “$200 million.”
The Orleans Family Health Hub in Ottawa: The big cheque was $60 million.
The Renfrew Victoria Hospital-that’s the Renfrew regional dialysis program, a very needed program-
is $12 million.
The St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital redevelopment in St. Thomas-
Mr. Jeff Yurek: Hear, hear.
M France Gélinas: Absolutely. The big cheque in your community read “$106 million.”
Then there’s North York General Hospital. That’s the inpatient beds, and that’s the one in Toronto.
The cheque read “$15 million.”
The Toronto East General Hospital-that’s the phase 1 redevelopment-also in Toronto: $210 million.
You also made announcements on the election trail about West Park Healthcare Centre, the phase
1 redevelopment-no figures were given, but the people are led to believe that millions of dollars are
coming their way. You said it during the election.
You did the same thing at Toronto Grace Health Centre. You promised a major redevelopment.
People are hoping for millions of dollars.
In Etobicoke’s general hospital, the phase 1 redevelopment, you had a big cheque there; “$200
million” was written on it.
At York Central Hospital, a new hospital in Vaughan, we haven’t got the figures, but a promise was
made, a promise for a brand new hospital. You can add a lot of zeroes to that.
M France Gélinas: And add HST to that, my colleague says.
North Wellington Health Care Corp.-the Louise Marshall Hospital, to be precise: Their emergency
and ambulatory care projects in north Wellington-those promises were made on the election trail.
Windsor Regional Hospital, the bridging project in Windsor: The big cheque on that one read “$60
million.” Hotel Dieu Grace Hospital-that’s for their angioplasty services and ambulatory care expansion in
Windsor. The big cheque read “$80 million.”
The Grey Bruce health centre, Southampton site, the emergency department and the laboratory
expansion: $10 million.
The list goes on and on, but I think you get the drift of where I’m going.
So you have people throughout this province who have seen the Liberal government come into their
town, either bearing a big cheque or a promise of major capital redevelopment of their health care
services in their own community, their own city, and they’re expecting you to deliver on it.
What the motion is asking is, did you do the math? Will you do the math? Will you submit to us how
much your promises have cost? The people of Ontario deserve nothing less. Thank you.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Member for Guelph.
Mrs. Liz Sandals: It’s good to see you in the chair. I’m noticing that you’re quieter when you’re in
the chair than when you’re seated elsewhere, sir. But we’re very pleased that you’re in the chair.
I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to respond to the motion from the member for Cambridge.
I would actually like to thank both the member from Cambridge and the member from Nickel Belt for
going through those catalogues of projects that we are looking forward to accomplishing. What it
brings up is that, in fact, our government did introduce something called the ReNew Ontario plan
where we take an actual planned approach to infrastructure, when we actually have a long-term plan
for infrastructure investments, not just in health care-although obviously health care is a major part
of that-but in other areas as well.
As you have noted, we actually do have plans, real plans, to build 18 new hospitals, and then
renovating and major projects at 100 other hospitals. You’ve mentioned some of the hospitals that I
take an interest in: Cambridge Memorial-for those of you who don’t come from my particular part of
the province, Cambridge is just southwest of Guelph; Groves Memorial, which is in Fergus, just
north of Guelph; the hospital in Vaughan-all my ancestors were born in Vaughan so I always take an
interest in Vaughan. The list goes on and on. Milton is another neighbour where there’s a hospital
The point here is that we have taken the time to create long-term infrastructure plans, and what we
have announced is not just some sort of random sprinkling of largesse but it’s as a result of capital
submissions to the Ministry of Health, it’s as a result of serious preliminary planning that has gone
on on all of these projects and it is part of a plan.
In terms of the actual details, the actual content of the motion, the request has been made for
information. In fact, all the information about commitment to hospital infrastructure is already online
as part of our publicly available long-term infrastructure plan, Building Together. The fact that the
member from Nickel Belt was able to find out so much information about the projected costs of the
various projects tells you that what I am saying is actually accurate: that the costings are all there,
that the costings are all part of the plan that we have laid out and that we know what it adds up to. When we released the Building Together plan in the spring, we committed to spend $35 billion on
infrastructure over the next three years and to provide some clarity, predictability and accountability
to Ontario voters to know what it was that we were committing to. But the thing that’s important to
note is that that commitment wasn’t just something that was on some random plastic cheque at an
event; that’s something that’s in our actual fiscal plan. That infrastructure plan is part of the Ontario
budget, part of the fiscal plan of the province of Ontario. Those are projects that we have accounted
for, not just in our platform but in the public accounts of the province of Ontario. That’s why the
information is all there on the Infrastructure Ontario website, because it’s part of a plan that has
been filed with the government and with the Auditor General, where it isn’t just, as I say, random
When I look at what has happened sometimes with the other parties, it’s interesting that there
haven’t been formal plans like that. Perhaps the cynicism that we’re hearing about from parties
opposite is based on the way they used to do things. They would run around and make campaign
commitments and not necessarily put those things in. Just in Cambridge-because it’s the member
from Cambridge who brought the motion-if you look at the history of this project, in 1998 the
Conservatives’ Health Services Restructuring Commission ordered that this hospital needed to be
built. In 2001, the Conservatives said, “Oh, yeah, we’re going to build it.” In 2003, it was part of the
Conservative election campaign. But guess what? The money wasn’t in the costing of their platform.
So when we arrived and actually looked at the books and the auditor said, “Hey, what, $5.6 billion”-
the money was not in the fiscal plan left behind by the Conservatives. The money for the Cambridge
hospital is now in the fiscal plan of the province of Ontario.
But do you know what happened? Do you know what happened, new member from Cambridge,
when that fiscal plan, as part of the Ontario budget, came to the floor of this House? Your party
voted against the money for the hospital in your riding and for the hospital in Mr. Arnott’s riding, the
member from Wellington-Halton Hills.
I have to tell you that I want to congratulate the member from Wellington-Halton Hills on the
advocacy work that he has done for his hospital over the years. He has been a tremendous
advocate for his hospital. He’s in my face; he’s in the Minister of Health’s face; he’s in the face of
anybody who will listen to him. I mention this because this is in marked contrast to what I
experienced from another neighbouring community, where I didn’t hear the amount that I heard from
the member from Wellington-Halton Hills, who never let me forget that we needed a new hospital in
Fergus. I actually happen to agree with him, and I agree that we need a new hospital in Cambridge.
But the message here is that you can’t have it both ways, folks. You cannot say, “Let’s cancel the
HST,” and say, “But leave all those hospitals in the fiscal plan.” You can’t have it both ways. Sorry.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Further debate?
Mrs. Elizabeth Witmer: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I’m very pleased to have the
opportunity to contribute to the debate today. I’d certainly like to thank and congratulate the newly
elected member from Cambridge for bringing this very important resolution forward. I commend him
for taking immediate action to protect not only the interests of his constituents but the interests of
people throughout the province of Ontario.
The member’s resolution calls on the government to provide this House and the people of Ontario
with “a specific and detailed plan that outlines the current stage of the development process, the
timelines for proceeding to any subsequent stage, the deadlines for project completion, and how the
government plans to pay for the construction and operation of all the hospital expansion projects
promised before and during the 2011 Ontario general election.” It requires the government to do something that they have not done ever before, and that is to provide this House with a reasonable
time frame of four months to prepare for the tabling of the plans and the promises they have made.
It’s time to allow, to the residents of these communities, answers to the question as to how and
when these hospitals are going to be built, extended, and how they are going to be paid for.
This resolution is a positive step in the right direction in that it proposes to keep politicians-and this
Liberal government, in particular-honest and accountable to the people in the province of Ontario.
That’s what it needs to do.
In Ontario today, we have a government that, regrettably, has a great proclivity towards making
grand announcements with very impressive speeches and photo ops; everybody is invited. We saw
this happen 22 separate times prior to the 2011 election campaign, when all of these little promises
were made about expansions and the health minister herself went out on a little bit of a whistle-stop
tour of Ontario, travelling the province, announcing new hospitals-some of which had been
announced several times before-and new expansions, but without giving people any information
about the costs, the funding or the timelines. Essentially, they said, “We’ll build a hospital. Trust us.”
The problem, Mr. Speaker, is that you can’t trust them. They have broken their promise on too many
occasions. Just ask the people of Cambridge. We have had three groundbreakings for that project,
and they have broken their word.
In fact, I’ve got an article with me today from Cambridge Now that was written on October 29, 2007,
and the headline reads, “Let the Digging Begin at Cambridge Memorial Hospital. There was Singing
and Dancing at CMH Groundbreaking.” The article goes on to state, “Cambridge Memorial Hospital
will soon be the site of a major operation as it begins construction on a $39.1-million expansion …
that by 2010”-when it’s completed-“will house the newest in medical technology.”
The article appeared in 2007. I was there at that groundbreaking, and as the people in Cambridge
and Waterloo region know, work has yet to begin on that expansion.
So this resolution that my colleague has put forward is absolutely necessary in order that the people
in this province can hold the government of the day, the McGuinty government, accountable for all
these pre-election announcements in the whistle-stop tour made by the Minister of Health. They
need to know what’s going to happen, when it’s going to happen and who’s going to pay for it.
Whether it is the capital funds that are going to be required or the operating funds, they are entitled
Again, I want to commend and I want to thank my colleague from Cambridge. He has done a lot of
hard work on this issue, and I hope that everybody will support him and hold the McGuinty
government accountable for the promises they made prior to the 2011 election.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Further debate?
Mr. Jagmeet Singh: Mr. Speaker, I would like to add my voice to this debate. In my riding of
Bramalea-Gore-Malton, particularly in Brampton, the Liberal government has made a number of
promises, and I echo the sentiments of my colleague the member from Cambridge when he states
that people in Ontario have lost their trust in the government, they have lost their trust in politicians,
and it is incumbent on us as politicians to restore this trust in this government, to restore their trust in
politicians, and for that reason, we must demand transparency and draw attention to the fact that
this government has broken promise after promise. In Peel Memorial Hospital in Brampton, the first promise the Liberal government made was that they
would not close this hospital. It was then closed. After the hospital was closed, the second promise
was that this hospital would be reopened. This hospital was not reopened. And the final promise, on
the eve of the election, was that this hospital would be demolished and rebuilt.
Mr. Speaker, it is unacceptable to break promises to the people of Ontario, and that’s why I stand in
solidarity with my colleague the member for Cambridge to demand that the government be
accountable, be transparent and give us the true facts and figures with respect to the promises
made to the people of Ontario.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Further debate?
Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn: It’s a pleasure to join the debate, and I welcome the new member from
I think all members will know that private members’ time is something that we get a little share of,
and we use it wisely and try to use it in the best interests of our community when the opportunity
arises to speak to the House, and I understand that that would be the member’s intent here.
What I don’t understand, to be perfectly frank, is that this information is available to any member of
the House right now simply by going on the website. Any member of the House who wanted to have
the information that is called for in the motion could go and get it, probably within the next 20
minutes. So while I think it’s a great initiative for the member to put forward his desire to see this
project undertaken-I certainly don’t fault him for doing that; that’s his job-I question the use of his
very valuable private member’s time to do that, because your next opportunity won’t come up for
some time down the road.
I can tell you the experience I’ve had in my own community of Oakville. We’ve got a project, one of
the largest infrastructure projects in Ontario’s history, under way in the form of a new hospital. It’s
being built; the tractors are moving.
We also have some other projects around the region of Halton that have been outstanding through
successive governments going back quite some time, and it’s our government that stepped forward
with a plan to address that. You can go and look at that plan. Any one of us can go and see the
outline, see the time, see the costing that’s associated with each one of the plans.
We’ve committed to, as I understand it, amongst others, Cambridge Memorial, Vaughan, the Milton
project-which I talked about-another one in Halton which is part of Halton Health care, Groves
Memorial, Brockville General and Renfrew Victoria. They’re all projects that we’re investing in. The
idea, obviously, is to improve health care in the province of Ontario, but we’re the first government
that has stepped forward with a plan to do that.
In 2003, when I became MPP for my community in Oakville, a lot of people had talked about the
Oakville hospital. A lot of people had talked about the need for the Oakville hospital. Nobody had
actually put a plan in place that addressed the building of the Oakville hospital. We were able to do
that, and I’m happy to stand up and say today that that project is now under way and is being built.
We also approved Joe Brant, which is in a neighbouring community. The MPP from Burlington will
know that that has been a project that, certainly-about 7% or 8% of people in Oakville actually use
Joe Brant hospital, so I’ve taken an interest in that project. I’ve been invited by the people at Joe
Brant to go and visit and to understand the needs and have gone out and advocated, along with the member-Minister McMeekin and I have certainly advocated. Even though it’s not part of my own
riding, we’ve gone down and advocated for that project to move ahead because we know how
important it is to the people in Burlington.
If you look back, I think, over a series of governments and you look for the government that has
done the most to renew the infrastructure in health care that needs to be done, I don’t think there’s
anyone that holds a candle to the record of this government. We’re building 18 new hospitals; we’re
renovating and improving over 100 others. Every project so far has come in on time and on budget.
There’s no reason to believe that the information that’s currently contained in the Infrastructure
Ontario website is not accurate. I know, as the MPP for that area, that I had to advocate: I had to
bang on a lot of doors, and I had to speak to a lot of ministers. Sometimes I felt the project was
moving off track. It took a lot of work to bring it back on track.
I’ve seen members of the opposition who have done that hard work and legwork as well. I suspect
that the member from Cambridge will probably have to do that as well, as will anybody else who has
a project like this in their community. That’s just part of being a good MPP and dealing with the
political system that we have here.
These are all projects that we’re investing in. When I look at the record of the party of the member
opposite, though-I understand that when asked by the Hamilton Spectator, the leader of that party
said that there was no guarantee that Joe Brant would be completed under that government.
That’s not the way to address it. If the member wants to go back to the old way of doing things,
that’s how it should be done. In this case, it’s there in black and white for you to look at.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The member from Wellington-Halton Hills.
Mr. Ted Arnott: Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate you on your re-election to this House and the
fact that you are serving this House as a presiding officer. With Hamilton in charge of this House, we
can’t go wrong.
The member for Cambridge has moved that, in the opinion of this House, the Legislative Assembly
require Premier McGuinty to table, by March 1, 2012, a specific and detailed plan that outlines the
current stage of the development process, the timelines for proceeding to any subsequent stage, the
deadlines for project completion and how the government plans to pay for the construction and
operation of the hospital expansion promised before and during the 2011 Ontario general election.
What a sensible suggestion. I want to indicate at the outset that I’ll be supporting the motion put
forward today by the member for Cambridge. He deserves credit for seeking to shed some light on
the government’s approval process for hospital capital projects.
In the last Parliament, I tried my best to do the same. I asked for the hospital list by way of an order
paper question. They refused to give it to me. I had to resort to a freedom-of-information request to
obtain the list of proposed hospital capital projects in the province. But for some reason the
government was initially unwilling to let us have the list.
Why would the list of hospital projects be a secret, and what have they got to hide? You would think
that the people of Ontario could be entrusted with the knowledge of where there are proposals for new hospital construction. But under the McGuinty Liberals, this apparently is not the case. My staff
and I had to go through all kinds of hoops, including appeals, and in the end the information I
received was incomplete. So, good for the member from Cambridge for so capably bringing this up
again in the House.
My staff and I worked for eight years to help obtain approval for a new Groves Memorial Community
Hospital in Centre Wellington, and again for 14 months to gain financial support for the Georgetown
hospital’s emergency room and CT scanner project.
I will hold the government to the commitments it made to my constituents in August of this year. In
fact, doing all I can to hold the government’s feet to the fire on their promises to support our hospital
projects is one of my highest priorities in this 40th provincial Parliament. What could be more
The people of Wellington-Halton Hills deserve accessible public health care when they need it, of
the highest quality possible as close to home as possible-period. Privileged to be their voice in this
House, I will accept nothing less. I’m glad to also express support for the new Cambridge Memorial
Hospital, which serves many of my constituents in the township of Puslinch.
I urge all members to support this resolution and send a strong signal that hospital project approvals
should be determined on need, not on politics.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Further debate?
The member from Cambridge has up to two minutes for his response.
Mr. Rob Leone: I would like to thank all members who participated in the debate. I think there were
very interesting positions taken by the government and certainly by the opposition side. But through
you to the member for Oakville, Mr. Speaker, I will never be ashamed for using my private member’s
time to advocate for Cambridge Memorial Hospital.
Frankly, unless the plan demonstrates what the cost is, what the design of the hospital will be, when
the cheque will arrive, when the machines will arrive, when the project will be complete and how we
will fund the operation of that hospital, there is no plan.
I went on that government infrastructure plan. They list it on a nice website. There are no timelines
for completion; there are sporadic costs associated with it. There’s no plan. That’s why we’re tabling
this motion today. I’m proud to stand up for Cambridge Memorial Hospital and all the hospitals
across the province of Ontario.