On Thursday, Oct. 10, the Ontario government threw the Scarborough residents living north of the 401 a bone. The minister of health has shown that the concerns of the people most affected by the scheduled closure of two of the departments at Scarborough Hospital-Grace Division (Birchmount Campus) don’t matter or carry any weight.
Artsakh is a place where there is a future. Here the human rights are respected.
STEPANAKERT, OCTOBER 11, ARTSAKHPRESS:
Member of the Toronto City Council Jim Karygiannis told “Artsakhpress” at the “Cooperation for Justice and Peace” Forum of Artsakh Friends, in capital city Stepanakert.
He noted that he had visited Artsakh for several times and for carrying out observation mission in the presidential election held in Artsakh he had been added to the Azerbaijani blacklist.
“I am proud to be added to the blacklist; I am proud for visiting Artsakh. Here again I would like to note that Armenians in Canada, as well as in the Diaspora, always want to be with Artsakh and support the Artsakh people,” said Jim Karygiannis.
WATCH ABOVE: A flag raising to mark the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China at Toronto City Hall was boycotted by the mayor. John Tory cited a number of issues between Canada-China relations for skipping the event. Matthew Bingley reports.
Progressive Conservative MPPs from Scarborough, North York and Markham are urging their own government to save existing pediatric and obstetric services at the Birchmount hospital.
Last week, six Tory MPPs met with senior aides to Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott to plead their case for stopping the maternity ward move from the hospital — which used to be known as the Scarborough Grace — to Scarborough General, which is 10 km away.
“We could lose our seats if this goes through,” admitted one worried local PC MPP, speaking confidentially in order to discuss internal caucus deliberations. “This is a big problem because the community doesn’t want this to happen.”
That’s why some PC MPPs want the government to overrule local health authorities, who have argued the changes would actually deliver better services.
Councillor Jim Karygiannis (Ward 22, Scarborough-Agincourt), who is leading the charge to preserve the services and is working closely with some of the local Tory MPPs, warned “there will be a price to pay” in the 2022 election if Queen’s Park fails to act.
“I’m going to go out of my way to make sure all six ridings are lost,” said Karygiannis, a former Liberal MP who maintains he’s “now a political atheist.”
The seats that could be in play are currently held by Conservative MPPs Aris Babikian (Scarborough-Agincourt), Raymond Cho (Scarborough North), Logan Kanapathi (Markham-Thornhill), Vincent Ke (Don Valley North), Christina Mitas (Scarborough Centre), and Vijay Thanigasalam (Scarborough-Rouge Park).
“These (Tories) are friends of mine, but friendship has got nothing to do with this,” said Karygiannis, stressing Ford and Elliott have to “step forward” to help the community and PC fortunes.
The government, which has no plans to overturn a decision by the Scarborough hospital board, is allaying fears that the Birchmount facility will eventually be closed down altogether by investing $27 million in a new emergency room there.
“Hospitals must be allowed to make independent decisions regarding their operations and patient safety, and our government respects those decisions,” Heather Potter, the health minister’s director of issues and legislative affairs, said Thursday.
“While we understand hospital programs can and must evolve, our government does not support the closure of this hospital or its emergency department.”
In a letter to Elliott two weeks ago, Maureen Adamson, chair of the Scarborough Health Network board of directors, underscored that “we are not closing, nor do we intend to close, the Birchmount emergency department.
“We will continue to provide 24/7 on-call pediatrics and obstetrics support for all of our emergency departments,” she wrote.
However, Dr. Lisa Salamon, a Birchmount emergency physician who strongly opposes the changes, said scheduled pediatric and obstetric services could be gone after November, meaning longer trips for expectant mothers and parents.
“Anything can be stopped because they haven’t done anything. Nothing’s moved, it’s still business as usual. There’s still time, but we’re running out of time,” said Salamon.
In 2006 and again in 2013, the previous Liberal government intervened amid the threat of service reductions at the Birchmount hospital.
Scarborough Health Network spokesman David Belous noted 76 per cent of Birchmount-area women already have their babies elsewhere.
Belous said a “centre of excellence” at the Scarborough General would provide better pediatric and obstetric services to the community.
“Particular with obstetrics and birthing, we know that the higher the volume, the better the outcomes … for the mother and the baby,” he said.