NDP leader makes stop in Fergus on campaign trail

FERGUS – NDP Leader Andrea Horwath visited Fergus on May 26 to pay a visit to local paramedics during Paramedic Services Week.

Joined by Wellington-Halton Hills NDP candidate Diane Ballantyne, Horwath stopped at the paramedic station on Queen Street in Fergus, bringing with her boxes of Tim Hortons donuts and heaps of appreciation for what paramedics do – and especially what they have done during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Horwath said paramedics really stepped up when hospitals became overcrowded, especially in the early days, and they’ve been filling gaps ever since.

But that has posed challenges for paramedics, too, she said.

“As hospitals become crowded, off-loading is taking too long and that impacts municipal budgets,” she said.

“That’s a financial pressure they should not be responsible for.”

Horwath said the Liberals are as much to blame as the Conservatives for the state of health care in Ontario.

“This was broken by the Liberals. We had hallway medicine before Doug Ford was elected,” she said.

Ford’s cuts to health care have only made it worse, she said.

“That’s why we need to take another tack this time. We can’t pretend what happened with COVID didn’t happen,” she said, listing the high death toll in long-term care facilities, overcrowding in hospitals, and healthcare worker burnout among the tragedies.

“Vote NDP this time. It won’t be fixed with more Conservative cuts.”

Ballantyne said the Wellington-Halton Hills riding has changed over 30 years and even though it’s been a Conservative stronghold, she believes youth, seniors and families are mobilizing and are primed for change.

“There are more people in Wellington-Halton Hills that didn’t vote (in the last election) than voted Conservative,” she said.

“We have the capacity for change.”