The rebuff was an intrusion on a
carefully scripted event, in which Mr. McGuinty turned his focus
once again to Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory. In an
attempt to stoke voters' fears, he said that a Conservative
government would return the province to the days of Mr. Harris,
when funding cuts decimated the public health system.
"I'm comparing the policies of Mr. Tory
and Mr. Harris," Mr. McGuinty told reporters. "Yes, they are
different people, but at the end of the day, what happened in
the past will happen again in the future."
With just over two weeks to go before
the Oct. 10 election, health care featured on the agenda of both
Mr. McGuinty and Mr. Tory yesterday. Mr. McGuinty spent less
time talking about his party's record in office - his main
message during the past few days - and more time reminding
Ontarians of the cuts to social programs Mr. Harris made as part
of his Common Sense Revolution.
Mr. Harris slashed government programs
after he was elected in 1995. The Liberal Leader said Ontarians
are fooling themselves if they believe his adversary could phase
out the annual $2.6-billion health premium and still make
additional investments in health care.
At a hospital campaign stop of his own
in Hamilton, Mr. Tory said he has every intention of honouring
his promise to pump new dollars into health care. He said his
party would invest $540-million over four years to provide every
resident with an online record of their medical history by 2014.
Half of Ontarians would have an electronic record by 2011, he
He said the Liberals promised to
implement an electronic record system. But despite investing
$458-million in the project, there is very little to show for
it, leaving Ontario lagging behind many other provinces.
"If I had adopted Mr. McGuinty's
approach on the 'never-never plan,' there would not be people
watching high-definition television on Rogers Cable today or
watching digital television," he said, referring to his years as
the company's president and chief executive. "I oversaw the
expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars to make that
happen on time and on budget because that was my job."
Mr. Brady, the hospital patient in
Ottawa who has Stage 4 colon cancer that has spread to his lungs
and liver, told reporters that the Liberals do not fund cancer
drugs available in other provinces.
"I'm running out of time ... I don't
have the money to spend $60,000 on drugs in the United States
that I need. I'm not very happy with the kind of service that
we're getting," he said.
Even though Mr. McGuinty did not stop
and talk to Mr. Brady, the Liberal Leader said Mr. Brady
reminded him of how personal health care is and that more needs
to be done.
He said Ontario relies on the advice of
medical experts to recommend which new drugs to pay for. An aide
later said Ontario added 12 new drugs since last year, and has
doubled the budget for cancer drugs to $176-million since 2003.
Later in the evening at a Liberal
barbecue rally in Ottawa, Mr. McGuinty mentioned Mr. Brady by
name, even though he had never asked his name at the hospital.