Remember this? I do!

Deb Matthews: “…the green light… the go ahead… I want to be very clear. This money has been allocated. It is in our fiscal plan. It has gone through the treasury board. All of the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. This money is part of our infrastructre plan….this money is part of that plan.”

Do you remember this day? I do…and over 100,000 Miltonians do as well. Here is a press release from MPP Ted Chudleigh.

www.tedchudleigh.com

MILTON DISTRICT HOSPITAL EXPANSION: A PROMISE THAT MUST BE KEPT
Chudleigh urges the people of Milton to remain vigilant as the 2012 budget nears

(Milton) – With the tabling of the 2012 Ontario Budget less than a week away, and the Minister of Finance promising massive infrastructure cuts, Halton MPP Ted Chudleigh today urged the people of Milton to keep their voices strong to ensure the expansion of the Milton District Hospital is completed on time.

“All of us were thrilled when the Minister finally promised the hospital would be expanded by 2016. But we can’t kid ourselves. With the Liberals’ spending problem hitting us hard, the long list of broken Liberal promises and with talk of hospital projects being axed in the upcoming budget we need to keep our voices strong,” said Chudleigh.

“Was this just another Liberal lie to get elected?” asked Chudleigh

The PC Government began the project to expand the Milton hospital in 2001. In 2003, soon after they were elected, the McGuinty Liberals cancelled the expansion.

Subsequently, for close to a decade, the people of Milton worked diligently to explain to the Liberals the necessity of expanding the hospital. A booming population and undersized hospital were not acceptable and had begun to put the heath of their families at risk.

On August 25, 2011 the Liberal Minister of Health and Long Term Care finally heard the Town’s plea and promised the province would fund the hospital’s expansion, “I want to be very clear this money has been allocated. It is in our fiscal plan. It has gone through our treasury board. All of the Is are dotted and Ts are crossed,” she said.

“Was Milton lied to?” asked Chudleigh “I guess only time will tell.”

Indeed, noting that the announcement to expand Milton District Hospital occurred just before the provincial election, Chudleigh questioned if the McGuinty Liberals ever intended to keep their promise to expand the hospital by 2016.

“The Minister stood in the Milton hospital, with tears in her eyes, and promised the hospital would be expanded by 2016,” said Chudleigh. “If this was an election ploy it is unforgivable.”

Milton Hospital Expansion Approved!

Its been a busy day for a number of reasons. I was at the announcement today along with several of our town councillors, MPP Ted Chudleigh, Liberal candidates Indiria Naidoo Harris, Friends of Milton Hospital, doctors and nurses, and staff and volunteers. Quite emotional. I had to leave because we had a medical emergency with our cat Chester. He was in a fight on the weekend and developed a massive infection which burst today and my son called in a panic. (Chesters had his surgery and is doing ok, we’ll be picking him up soon)

I put together a few thoughts, and once things settle down at home, I’ll post more…and probably add more people to thank so I dont leave anyone out.

EDIT:  As Colin Best reminded me on the Hawthorne Villager I forgot someone important.  Regional Chair Gary Carr has also played a very strong role in getting meetings scheduled with cabinet ministers during the recent AMO Conference in London and also bringing up Milton’s needs at every possible opportunity.  Thank you Gary!!!

Here is the video from today courtesy of Brian Best (thanks for the vid…it was a historic day in Milton and I’m glad it was captured)

Today was a great day for Milton with the announcement of the hospital expansion earlier today. Many thanks to a LOT of people.

To the doctors and nurses and volunteers and staff of Milton Hospital…thank you. You were the ones under the gun over the last several years and despite everything seemingly against you, you have ALL done an amazing job.

The tears of joy I witnessed from the staff at MDH said it all.

To John Oliver and Alan Halls THANK YOU for your leadership and persistence in this matter. Everyone at Halton Healthcare Services has been a strong advocate for Milton and our needs and you have lead the charge.

To Friends of Milton Hospital, THANK YOU. Over 36,000 signatures were collected and presented to the government to let them know, THIS was the issue in town.

To my fellow council members, THANK YOU. Everytime we had the ear of a provincial minister of govt, we brought the Milton Hospital expansion to their attention. Theres a reason why Minister Deb Matthews mentioned our persistence.

To my colleagues on the Grow Milton Hospital campaign, THANK YOU! We helped in keeping the pressure up and we saw the end result in mind. Todays announcement was a result of a lot of people and the residents of Milton…THANK YOU.

There is also MPP Ted Chudleigh to thank for his years of work on this with the provincial government. John Oliver made mention in his speech of Ted’s efforts on raising awareness over the last several years, and while colourful at times, his passion for Halton residents in Milton was unwaivering. THANK YOU Ted!

Now the hard work begins. We WILL do this together and with everyones support from all sides … the job will get done.

Hey Bob! Read OUR Lips!

GROW MILTON HOSPITAL!

I read with interest an article in the Champion last week called “Councillors disappointed with infrastructure plan”  Click on the link to read it in full.

Disappointed isn’t the word.  In addition to Regional Councillor Colin Best’s comments, I also spoke about the lack of detail in this report and despite the Town’s efforts in keeping the province “in the loop” we have been kept in the dark.  And its not just Milton municipal councillors who are disappointed with the plan, or lack thereof.  Its the hundreds of mayors, regional & local councillors who are scratching their heads at the vagueness of the capital infrastructure plan recently released by the Provincial government.

The report called “Building Together” was supposed to outline a list of municipalities and their important infrastructure projects that would be green lighted by the province, such as expansion of Milton District Hospital, growing our university / college campuses (Milton Education Village) and other much needed road developments.

Instead we got a “we promise” document.  We promise that the provincial government will help fund these projects.  We promise.

When politicians utter the words “we promise” taxpayers roll their eyes.  Been there…done that.  Tell us something new.

It’s with that in mind I chuckled when I read the comments from Minister of Infrastructure Bob Chiarelli when he said the following:

“People know what our commitment is,” he (Chiarelli) said. “Read my lips, we mean business.”

Personally speaking, I really don’t know what to do with that comment.  I remember a certain US President who made the same “read my lips” promise and it came back to bite him in the old hindquarters.  He claims people know what the governments commitment is.  How can the people of Milton know what the provinces commitments are if they are not outlined.

And really when it comes down to it, Bob is a former Mayor of Ottawa and if anyone could understand what the cities and towns in Ontario are going through right now its him.

When the Town of Milton is asked to put forward a 10 year capital projection at budget time, we do.  The budget has a list of projects that are slated to begin, the time they are ready to go, and the approximate financial commitments needed to complete that project.  The same can be said for the Region of Halton and in fact, every municipality does this.  Why cant the Province of Ontario do the same?

The Premier of Ontario recently prorouged Queens Park for the summer and with a provincial election slated for October 6th, its highly unlikely they will be back to work at Queens Park any time soon.  Therefore the taxpayers of Milton must wait on pins and needles to see if this government will announce any projects before that time.  In fact its more likely we will hear something, if anything AFTER the election in October.

This will now put the timeline for the expansion of Milton District Hospital even further behind.

“Read my lips, we mean business.”

A little history lesson for you Bob just in case you missed it the first time around.  The minister of health Deb Matthews can also listen in as well as the Premier.

Between the Friends of Milton campaign a few years ago where over 35,000 signatures were secured from Milton residents and delivered to the health ministers office to the most recent Grow Milton Hospital campaign, where over 6,000 signatures were collected in a matter of weeks, Milton residents have been trying to let you know that we mean business.  Our council even installed a hospital expansion levy on our taxpayers (you know my feelings on THAT issue) in the hopes it would let the provincial government know we meant business too.  We as a town have done everything possible to raise the awareness of this problem that can affect the delivery of health care services to the people of Milton.  Instead we get a “read my lips” response.

The population of Milton is approaching 100,000 people and the last expansion at MDH took place back in 1987 when the population was 30,000.  Even then the current facilities were too small for that number and it wont be able to sustain itself much longer.  The infrastrucutre within the hospital is falling apart.  The hosptial recently got a new piece of equipment to sterilize medical instruments and it couldnt work because the electical system couldnt handle it and the installation was delayed by a couple of weeks.

Alan Halls from Halton Healthcare Services and John Oliver have made plea after plea to the province to green light the expansion of the hospital because the system will not be able to sustain itself at the current rate of growth.  The Milton Town Council has repeatedly sent you reports on the status of our growth, mandated by the provincial government, and the possible effects on our schools, roads and the hospital.

Expert after expert has told the LHIN and the Ministry of Health that the expansion of Milton Hospital is needed NOW.  The people of the town of Milton have told you endlessly that the expansion of Milton Hospital is needed NOW.  There are hundreds of signs on the lawns of the people of Milton that say “The Time is NOW! Grow Milton Hospital!”  As a local councillor in Milton I get stopped in the street, I receive emails and get phone calls from residents asking when will it happen…when will it start?

Read OUR lips Bob!  We mean business as well. 

Milton isn’t by far in the worst situation when it comes to hospitals and the delivery of health care services to their residents.  We know that!  What the taxpayers have seen over the last 8 years is $1 Billion wasted on EHealth (imagine what that money could have done to expand hospital facilities) and other programs, while we sit back and watch our hospital crumble before our eyes.  The doctors and nurses in Milton Hospital are doing the best they can given the circumstances.  Something has to give soon.  We only hope that a life isn’t put into danger before something happens with the expansion.

The Town of Milton has committed to providing the local share thats needed for the hospital expansion.  We dont have an amount yet and that can happen only if the project gets green-lighted by the province and we can get started in the planning.  When that happens, we will consult with Miltonians on the best direction to raise that local share.  We’re ready to go!  Just give us the green light!

Read our lips Bob!  Grow Milton Hospital!