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Ford reignites debate on site of proposed Durham Hospital

Top Whitby officials have reacted sharply to “bullying” and “improper” campaign comments from Ontario Premier Doug Ford yesterday.

Premier Ford said he will not be bullied on the location of the proposed new hospital in Durham, and said it will be decided by his government. An independent panel had recommended Whitby as its choice. Oshawa and Pickering too had thrown their hat in the ring to host the proposed new hospital (see related stories below).

Whitby has been campaigning for the hospital and claims its advocacy campaign has garnered the support of some 4,000 people. Ford says the town used prizes to collect names and emails.

Both Whitby Mayor Elizabeth Roy and Chief Administrative Officer Matt Gaskell, yesterday called the premier’s comments as “disrespectful”.

“The Premier is misdirecting the public with inaccurate allegations that are frankly disrespectful to the thousands of people who took the time to support our campaign and share personal stories,” said Mayor Elizabeth Roy.

“Standing up for the residents of Whitby is not being a bully. It’s doing my job. The province continues to say that a hospital for Durham is coming. What I’m asking is, when? I will continue to ask until we get an answer. I’m very concerned that today the premier stated that the province will select the site of the new Durham hospital. This is exactly why Whitby continues to advocate, to support the decision that was made by the independent expert panel more than two years ago,” said Mayor Roy.

Whitby Chief Administrative Officer Matt Gaskell said: “What Premier Ford said this morning is entirely inaccurate and frankly disrespectful of the nearly 4,000 call-to-action letters and personal stories shared by residents from across the region.

“Residents signed up to show their support for a new Durham hospital, not for a chance to win one of four prizes. The hospital community advocacy campaign launched by the town was multi-purpose, aimed at both educating and engaging our community on a matter that residents said was of the utmost importance to them.

“The offer of prizing to help drive participation is standard practice used by many municipalities. It’s also important to note that emails are collected only as a means of validating submissions to prevent spam. Mayor and council do not have access to emails provided,” he added.

Next Steps

The Town of Whitby yesterday announced next steps in the community advocacy campaign.

The town will be papering municipal facilities with orange hearts, with each heart representing a resident who has supported the campaign. Residents can help keep the momentum going by visiting to sign the call-to-action letter and have their heart added to the wall, the statement said.

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One thought on “Ford reignites debate on site of proposed Durham Hospital

  1. We don’t have enough nurses and doctors to cover the hospital in Oshawa,how are you going to cover another hospital in Whitby ?

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