The health care tipping point

Trevor's Take

Trevor Hutchinson headshot

By Trevor Hutchinson

A graduate of the University of Toronto, Trevor Hutchinson is a songwriter, writer and bookkeeper. He serves as Contributing Editor at The Lindsay Advocate. He lives with his fiancee and their five kids in Lindsay.

The closure of the Minden emergency department has garnered huge local opposition and provincial coverage. Photo courtesy of Save Minden Ontario Emergency Room.

Last month I had to attend the emergency department at the Ross Memorial. It was just one of those months where a bit of bad luck was followed by a bit more bad luck.

The emergency department team, on every visit, was just incredible. They are on the front lines of so many intersecting problems: chronic historic healthcare underfunding, a toxic illegal drug supply, a mental health crisis, a lack of resources for seniors living with dementia. Not to mention burn-out and understaffing from the years of COVID and post-COVID workload stress.

Despite all the challenges they were facing, every staff I encountered was professional, empathetic, caring and going above and beyond. These people are freaking heroes, day in and day out. Everyone can see what they are doing and the pressures they are facing.

I was not surprised by the outstanding and thorough care my family and I received such care is the norm in my experience. But the conversations I overheard in the hallways were very interesting. I heard more than one senior commenting on how “we used to have a great health care system, but the Ford government is ruining it.” If it was just one conversation, I might have written it off to a random, non-conservative receiving care. But over the few days of being there, I started to sense a theme.

If people are getting angrier in our riding, which has been conservative for the vast majority of time since confederation, the provincial government might be facing a tipping point on one of the most important issues to Ontarians.

And healthcare is at play as a political issue in our riding. The closure of the Minden emergency department has garnered huge local opposition and provincial coverage (as has been well documented by my colleague, Kirk Winter, in this publication). People are angry for good reason. And they are mobilized.

It is expected that the effect of the Minden closure will soon be felt by increased wait times in Lindsay and that it will only get worse, although it remains to be seen if people will make that link.

Local political junkies will know that historically the Conservatives have won by taking the northern and rural parts of the riding which normally outdoes a split in Lindsay across a few parties. People way more connected to me are saying that this dynamic, at least for the moment, has changed.

There are rumours that some of the northern conservative power players will be sitting out the next provincial election cycle. There are also whispers that our MPP Laurie Scott may not seek re-election, in part because of the northern healthcare issue. Ms. Scott is a deservedly well-liked public servant who has served the community with devotion (whether you share her views or not).

But healthcare (and healthcare privatization and under-funding) may be one thing that is just more important than party politics to most residents. 


  1. My 75 year old disabled wife waited 8 hours for a cast on her arm. After 8 hours she was told it would be another 7 hour to get help. Other people in emergency were leaving after hours and hours. We left without getting the cast. I guess Ford only cares about developers wait times building houses. Can canadians spell the word bribery. More important can the police spell bribery.

  2. Bradley Sales says:

    Again we find that instead of helping educate the reader about issues in health care, this news outlet uses the space to vent frustration at the current provincial government.
    Here we have Trevor’s obvious axe grinding and vague references to “local political junkies”, when the space could have been used to help the rest of us understand the real reasons why wait times and costs have reportedly increased at the ER, but serving up that dish would have required effort, and besides the truth was never on the menu, was it? Just avarice and sloth in my humble opinion.
    May I recommend the headline for your next piece?: Instead of “Health Care Tipping Point…” say “Look Out the Conservatives are Bogeymen and They Are Coming to Get You!”

  3. Wallace says:

    I’ve been to the emergency department at the Ross once since moving to lindsay 4 years ago — the staff at the entrance, conducting the triage process, were the rudest, most ignorant women I’ve ever dealt with in any situation. I have never heard anything positive from anyone about their experiences in emerg at he Ross. My parents are in their 80s and they have been complaining about the service and quality of care at the Ross, for my entire life. Every long term resident I know in Lindsay has horrible stories about the Ross . The glowing review of the Ross by the author does not represent the typical experience of others. And to blame the PC party for this is a copout. The biggest problem at the Ross, and lindsay in general, are rude people who think they are entitled to treat others badly.

  4. C. Wilson says:

    The Conservatives have cut health care services across the board, and allowed many seniors to die needlessly in LTC’s. They don’t bother mandating AC in those same LTC homes in 30 degree heat waves, and they allow their friends to run those homes with the absolute minimum of care standards, such as having only two diaper changes per day and a minimum of staff and equipment. Installing his friends on the regulatory boards to make sure they have no legal liability or repercussions from public or their patients.

    The Greenbelt scandal (among many others) tells me that Ford’s only agenda as a politician is to make money, for his already-wealthy friends and his own family. Refusing to raise the minimum wage until he was simply forced to do so tells me he has little regard for those people who serve him his burgers.

    There is absolute verifiable proof from many other countries , that a living wage and well-managed available public health care leads to a stable economy and helthier citizens. Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, even many of the less wealthy countries, like Spain guarantee free and full health care. Yet the Conservatives insist we must cut and privatise.

    We elected an inherited-wealth drug dealer who has no concept of the difficulties in today’s world, and we are getting what we paid for. A man who thinks a buck a beer will quell the muttering masses. That, quite literally, was his platform for the election.What more can be said?

    I always respected the true small-c conservatives fiscal ideology in the past, and I am not a knee-jerk voter, I will vote for the person who I think will do the best job for my area. Unfortunately the Conservatives of today, from the Mike Harris period onwards, adhere to the policy of feathering their own nests, claiming vociferously to be ‘for the working man’ while furiously working behind the scenes -making very sure there’s no public input – to decimate public services. Services for which we all paid, and which we deserve.

  5. Dale Gillespie says:

    The question is whether the Conservatives (Provincial) should be blamed or should the Liberals (Federal) be blamed? Are the provinces getting the required money from the federal government? Should this not be queried? I do not believe that they are and that our tax dollars are being spent elsewhere, needlessly. It is really easy to blame the provincial government without asking why and what they are experiencing for us, the taxpayers. More research should be done before playing the “blame”game to find out what is really happening and not just passing an opinion as fact. There is too much of that in the news media and it is all slanted but unfortunately, people will believe opinion as fact and jump on the bandwagon without seeking further for the true facts.

  6. Wendy MacKenzie says:

    Good grief! What planet is Bradley Sales on? Trevor Hutchinson is merely telling it as it is for the vast majority of Ontarians. There is an old (and absolutely accurate) saying where I came from, to whit: “Never trust a Tory!” You will never be in the wrong if you blame Conservatives, whether Provincial or Federal or back in the UK!

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