May 5th, 2023
Updated: Jun 21
When you can’t control what is happening around you, challenge yourself to control how you respond. That is where your true power lies.
Well, what can I say, except isn't life just full of surprises? As most readers know, I now sit as an Independent Member of the Provincial Parliament. The independent investigation process is ongoing, and my staff and I continue to cooperate throughout the process. Out of respect for the complainant's privacy, no further details will be forthcoming.
I must admit that, at first, I was shocked and even hurt by the situation. However, experience has shown me that lying down doesn't move you forward. Being positive and choosing my own direction in moving forward is who I am. So, that's what I and my team are doing. In my struggle to stay positive and focused, I came across an excellent quotation: "When you can't control what is happening around you, challenge yourself to control how you respond. That is where your true power lies."
I am not a quitter now and never have been. So, with over 11 years of experience as an MPP under my belt, I'm back on track and moving forward. The only difference is that I now sit as an Independent MPP. My team and I have always felt honoured to represent and work for the people of Algoma-Manitoulin. It's who I am, and it's who my team is.
People have asked if I am worried about my political future. They have asked if I will switch parties or even resign as MPP. My answer to them is that at the end of the day, what I believe in, my goals and aims and my political views have not wavered, nor will they. I will still support the bills and initiatives that I always have. I will represent the views and concerns of the people of Algoma-Manitoulin and continue to bring constituents' voices to Queen's Park as I have for the last 12 years. Team Mantharays is intact and brings a mountain of skills, knowledge and compassion to the job. As always, Team Mantharays is here to help.
So, let's drop the puck and get the game going.
My office receives an incredible volume of calls and letters from constituents across the riding on a plethora of issues. However, one issue that we hear about consistently is the chronic shortage of family doctors. We hear so many sad stories and appeals for assistance to get put onto a doctor's roster. Doctor recruitment in the North has been a long-time, ongoing issue that successive Liberal nor Conservative governments have successfully resolved or even improved.
Once again, just days ago, I raised the issue in the Legislature during Question Period about the ongoing shortage of doctors in the North. In my question, I reminded Minister Jones that my office hears from individuals and families who have to wait two, three, four or more years to be matched with a family doctor through Health Care Connect. And this often leads to difficulty accessing primary care.
In February, the Ontario College of Physicians reported that 2.2 million Ontarians are currently without a family doctor. Rural and northern communities are especially struggling to ensure residents can access a physician and primary care. In the Ontario Medical Association's pre-budget submission, Dr. Stephen Cooper, who happens to be from Manitoulin Island, told the government that Northern Ontario alone is facing a shortfall of 350 family doctors and specialists. This number is up from 325 just a year ago. Dr. Cooper said in his submission, "It is hard to overstate the consequences for access to care if this trend continues."
To be clear, family health teams, nurse practitioners, and physicians are all doing their very best to serve their communities. They are to be commended for their dedication. By way of example, Dr. Chantelle Wilson, also from Manitoulin Island, reached out to my office recently to share the struggles she is facing practising in small communities on western Manitoulin. She said, "My area has not had access to a home care nurse for two weeks. Dressing changes, etc., are coming to my office, adding to my already overflowing plate. I feel that providing care to western Manitoulin, including 45 in-patients at the local nursing home."
The Ford government's game plan is not intended to resolve the doctor shortage. If anything, Mr. Ford is deliberately fanning the flames to make matters worse. The Conservatives have cut funding to hospitals and used harmful legislation to put a stranglehold on healthcare workers' wages to the point where Ontario nurses are the lowest paid in Canada. And Mr. Ford is determined to put profits before the health and welfare of Ontarians by orchestrating a self-imposed healthcare crisis and feigning that privatization is the only way out because of the severity of the crisis.
Premier Ford is well practiced at staring at the camera, claiming his government is doing everything humanly possible to improve Ontario's health care system. But, make no mistake – Doug Ford's decisions have worsened the crisis. This Conservative government is making decisions which, despite what they say, we know will deepen the crisis they have orchestrated.
Mr. Ford wants Ontarians to believe that it's too late to save publicly funded healthcare and the only thing to be done is to sell off our healthcare system. My message to Mr. Ford is that it is never too late to do the right thing. The Ford government needs to properly fund the public sector of our health care system.
There is much to be done, and I'm not content to sit on the bench and simply watch the game unfold. I'm on my feet, my team is ready, and I have a game plan in place. And I know my goal is to make life better for the people of Algoma-Manitoulin.
So drop the puck; the game on. It's time to move forward.
As always, please feel free to contact my office about these issues or any other provincial matters. You can reach my constituency office by email at my new address, firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone Toll-free at 1-800-831-1899.
Michael Mantha MPP/député