Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie wants a clear answer from Stephen McNeil.
“Will Stephen McNeil accept the invitation to debate healthcare on Cape Breton, yes or no?” asks Baillie.
Stephen McNeil is touring Cape Breton today, but has failed to respond to the invitation to debate healthcare issues in Cape Breton. Baillie says this calls into question how much McNeil cares about the problems Cape Bretoners face.
“The message from people in Cape Breton has been loud and clear,” says Baillie. “The healthcare system is in chaos and it needs to be addressed immediately. It’s time for Stephen McNeil to stop ignoring these concerns and face the people of Cape Breton himself.”
Baillie invited McNeil to the debate on Monday, after a weekend rally led by doctors in Sydney Mines drew hundreds of people. A similar meeting in Sydney last June attracted another large and engaged group of residents. Baillie says if Stephen McNeil sneaks off the island without accepting the invitation, he is telling people in Cape Breton their concerns don’t matter.
“Stephen McNeil consistently denies that there is a healthcare crisis, minimizes the severity of the doctor shortage and brushes off the overcrowded emergency rooms. I am beginning to wonder if he has any clue how severe the situation is,” says Baillie. “I am prepared to share with people my vision and plan of action for Cape Breton. Is he prepared to defend his record?”
Cape Breton has become ground zero for a healthcare system in crisis, and Baillie says it is the right place for party leaders to debate the way forward. Baillie says the Progressive Conservative Party is ready to work with the other parties on debate rules, format and a host.
The Progressive Conservatives are prepared to extend a similar invitation to NDP leader Gary Burrill should Stephen McNeil answer the challenge.
Baillie plans to visit Cape Breton and discuss healthcare issues with voters directly later this week.