SYDNEY – MLAs Tammy Martin and Eddie Orrell were left “disgusted” by the Liberal government’s planned closures of the two hospitals in their ridings and how they heard about it.
An email invitation was sent to all MLA’s Sunday evening for the new health care plan announcement taking place Monday at 11:45 a.m. There was a technical briefing for media and government officials at 10:30 a.m., however, Martin, the NDP health critic wasn’t told about it but still showed up.
Martin, MLA for Cape Breton Centre, and Orrell, MLA for Northside-Westmount, both said they repeatedly asked the health minister if there were plans to close any hospitals during the last legislature sitting and were told no.
MLA for Cape Breton Centre Tammy Martin. (CONTRIBUTED)
“When were we in legislature? February, March? You know that was three months ago. It takes longer than three months to devise a plan. So, when we’re asking the questions three months ago we were out and out lied to in their response,” she said.
“It’s so sad. They tried to do it in secret so there were less people here who could get time off work in such short notice.”
Orrell, who was appointed the PC health critic on May 16, also thinks the timing of the invitation was purposely planned. When he got the news on Sunday about the announcement he was in Halifax for meetings Monday morning. He immediately drove back.
MLA for Northside-Westmount Eddie Orrel. (CONTRIBUTED)
“If this was something that was planned for so long, why not announce it on a Thursday or Friday not on a Sunday at supper time when there’s nobody in the office and your schedule has already been planned for the week,” he said.
Both health critics are concerned about the loss of the emergency rooms at the hospitals and concerned there wasn’t enough consultation done with community members or stakeholders.
Martin said she is sure no one from her community was consulted. Orrell said there was a consultation in his constituency, but it was more of a presentation about community health care centres than an investigation into what the community needs.