Cape Breton town hall meetings discuss hospital closures
Three town hall style meetings were held in Cape Breton on Saturday to discuss what many are calling the ‘health care crisis’ on the island.
Residents say they are upset that they have received no information about the province’s plan to close two community hospitals in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
There was anger and frustration from residents attending a town hall style meeting in North Sydney on Saturday.
“This time I’m not voting Liberal, I’m voting Tory,” resident Chris Bonnar said at the town hall style meeting in North Sydney. “Stephen McNeil and his party have ripped the guts out of Cape Breton.”
The town hall meetings were held in North Sydney, New Waterford, and Glace Bay, all of them organized by the Progressive Conservatives.
For months, the talk of the town has been about the state of health care on the island, and the provincial governments plan to close the community hospital.
“Both my husband and I, it’s scaring us very much. We’re actually talking about moving away because being elderly, we are getting scared,” explains Chris Bonnar.
Residents of New Waterford are also concerned, as they too are fighting against the government’s plan to close their local hospital.
“Stephen McNeil is talking about closing the Northside Hospital and New Waterford Hospital, both that were built by the people, they don’t belong to the government,” said one concerned resident at the meeting in North Sydney.
The government has committed to building newer, modern health centres to replace what it calls aging infrastructure. Officials say the project will help make the process of recruiting new doctors easier.
CBRM Councillor Earlene MacMullin says she’s fine with the concept, but the lack of information provided about it is what’s concerning.
“The frustration isn’t just not knowing, it’s the degrading ways we’re being spoken to,” explains MacMullin. “When we first as a council stood up and started to join these rallies, we were called ‘just noise’. It’s a level of disrespect.”
N.S. Progressive Conservative leader Tim Houston was in Sydney on Saturday, but declined to say whether he would keep the two hospitals open if he becomes the next Premier.
“People need to know they can access health care,” explained Houston. “Right now they don’t know how that will be. You can’t close the hospital until they know how they’re going to access health care.”
An ongoing issue that continues to generate a lot of attention, and no shortage of anger and frustration on the island.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.