The motion was defeated by a vote of 45 to 23.
The Opposition forced the vote at Queen’s Park on a proposed redevelopment in Brampton, which would add 250 inpatient beds to Peel Memorial Centre over seven years. The provincial government has presented the development as a new hospital for Brampton, but opposition members and some in the community say the actual proposal falls far short of that.
“This community has been devastated by successive Conservative and Liberal governments,” Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said while introducing the motion. “Families in Brampton know all too well what they’ve not been getting for literally decades.”
Opposition motions are a regular routine at Queen’s Park and are not binding on the government.
In the 2021 provincial budget, brought down last March, the Ford government stated construction of the Peel Memorial redevelopment would begin in 2023, and it would spend $18 million in 2021-2022 to expand the urgent -are clinic operations to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The government added the investment would “pave the way for an eventual emergency department,” but has yet to offer a timeline. Some in the community and the Ontario NDP have criticized what they say is a lack of clarity, which prompted Wednesday’s motion.
“The legislative assembly calls on the Ford government to immediately provide the funding necessary to address the 850 beds needed in Brampton, build a new emergency room and beds at Peel Memorial, and build a third hospital to appropriately address the city’s health-care needs,” Horwath said as she read the motion aloud in the legislature.
Emergency department coming ‘eventually,’ PCs say
Prabmeet Sarkaria, the PC MPP for Brampton South, reiterated the government’s message in response to Horwath.
“Brampton’s new hospital will be a game-changer for our community,” he said. “It will house over 250 inpatient beds in a seven-storey patient tower, and to scale up operations we’re transforming Peel Memorial with an $18-million investment to run it 24/7, paving the way for an emergency department.”
To date, the government has been vague on the funding for the “eventual” emergency department at Peel Memorial. The budget does not specifically mention an exact amount for the 250 inpatient beds.
“[The provincial government] hasn’t budgeted a single dime for a brand new standalone hospital in Brampton,” Horwath said at Queen’s Park.
But Eglinton-Lawrence PC MPP Robin Martin responded by saying “a tender for a billion dollars has been issued for this project in Brampton.”
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Many PC MPPs noted that Mayor Patrick Brown lauded it as the largest health-care investment in the city’s history. But Brown, along with Brampton city council on Jan. 22, 2020 declared a public-health emergency saying the city needed an additional 850 beds to operate at required levels.
At a meeting earlier this month, city council learned it would have to possibly introduce a special hospital levy to have residents help fund the project to the tune of $125 million.
NDP MPP Kevin Yarde, who represents Brampton North, the riding where Brampton Civic Hospital is located, said the current proposal of 250 inpatient beds isn’t enough.
“By the time we get the 250 beds, we’ll be even further behind,” Yarde said, citing population growth and the expected completion date of 2027.