Health minister Matthews deflects blame to Hudak for cancellation of West Lincoln?

West Lincoln Hospital

When I read this article in the St. Catharines Standard, I just couldn’t believe the anti-PC bias in the way it is written. 

It is about the recent cancellation of a renewed West Lincoln hospital project in Grimsby and was written on May 4th, 2012 by Standard staff Jeff Bolichowski and Shawn Jeffords.

Basically, even though Bolichowski and Jeffords admit they couldn’t reach Ontario Liberal government Health Minister Deb Matthews, they use her words from a CKTB radio interview that deflects blame for the change in status to PC Official Opposition Leader Tim Hudak.

Given that media treatment, is it any wonder Ontarians keep electing the McGuinty Liberal government? For example, Bolichowski and Jeffords wrote:

After taking several swipes at PC Leader and Niagara West-Glanbrook MPP Tim Hudak, Matthews said when the economy took a hard turn the government had to review all spending.’This project will, at some point, move forward. I’m sure of that,’ she said.” [My highlighting.]

“Matthews slammed Hudak for remaining ‘completely silent’ on the issue until the rally. She said at that point he began to pressure the Liberals in question period at Queen’s Park. ‘He’s never raised the issue of West Lincoln, ever,’ she said.” [My highlighting.]

Never raised the issue, ever? Yet, she admits in the same interview that Hudak did ask questions this past week after the rally.  I mean, as long as the project was going ahead, what should Hudak have asked the Health Minister: “Are you lying about the hospital going ahead?”

No, this is simply double-speak and deflecting criticism! And the media allows her to get away with it! In fact, even now, after the huge rally of 12,000 people, the Liberals are spinning, saying the West Lincoln project is only on hold.

In the final analysis, what does Hudak have to do with the decision anyway? He is the leader of the opposition, not in the governing party.

 I mean, shouldn’t the media be asking Matthews why the $1.2 billion mega hospital in Finance Minister Dwight Duncan’s riding is still going ahead– particularly since the people of West Lincoln have already raised the $14.5 million asked of them by the same government that is now, allegedly, reneging on the project?

For those unfamiliar with the West Lincoln Hospital, it is a very old hospital that, even in its current condition, is home to a wonderful obstetrics team. My granddaughter has had two children there. In fact, women from all over Niagara prefer to go there to have their babies than to hospitals in the larger centres.

Why? Because it is friendly and allows mid-wives, doulas (birth coaches) and fathers to provide support alongside an obstetrician.

12 thoughts on “Health minister Matthews deflects blame to Hudak for cancellation of West Lincoln?

  1. I do not find the Standard article particularly slanted against Hudak Sandy. In fact, amongst what we have come to expect as Liberal spin (which is consistent in trying to paint Hudak as absent), Tim gets his digs in nicely and the columns writer gives him 255 words of what looks to be a 700-800 word piece. I think Hudak comes out looking better than Matthews in this column actually AND the writer also balanced the provincial comments off with local ones. On the whole what Matthews says here is nothing really, no promise, no commitment, more empty rhetoric.

    Not knowing much about this particular hospital situation the column isn’t bad at all for Hudak.


  2. Obviously Jon, I disagree with you or I wouldn’t have taken the time to write the post.

    In my opinion, it is putting more emphasis on Hudak than it is Matthews, apart from their coverage of what Hudak eventually says. But, the initial half of the article is allowing Matthews to make excuses and spin that all the Liberals want is to provide health care and nurses, etc.

    But, to each his or her own I guess. I called it as I see it.


  3. And you allow your readers to call them as they seem them to via their perspectives too I hope?

    What I don’t understand is that given that there are many positives in this column for Hudak and supporters like you and I to hone in on you pick the negative and I pick the positive. To each his own. The negative spin is the easy part. I don’t think Hudak’s a victim by the media in this instance. If you think he is then you have a bone to pick with this paper and the writer of this column.

    Also, to Hudak’s credit it should be very easy for him to look to the public record and disprove Matthew’s claims that he hasn’t ever raised this particular hospital issue with her or her gov’t.

    Here I am willing to give Hudak some support and you want me to go negative….it’s just not what I read in the column.


  4. “And you allow your readers to call them?” Absolutely Jon. That is what makes blogging so interesting. Of course, I mean that to a point, if you know what I mean.

    What I was looking at is why Hudak gets so little traction and why he is perceived to not be engaged. This column shows he is engaged and yet the journalists allow Matthews to go after him without them going after her. That is my point.

    I am not being the least bit negative about Hudak. Or I am it was not my intention. I am just fed up with the Liberals getting off nearly scott free about everything. Matthews was basically saying, “Well, if this hospital project is so important to Hudak, why didn’t he mention it in QP before?” It wasn’t: “So, Minister, why are you cancelling/putting off this project when a hospital that is much more expensive is still on target in the Finance Minister’s riding.

    So, I don’tsee how I am going negative on Hudak — just the reverse.

    Perhaps someone else can comment in this regard.


  5. I didn’t say that you were going negative on Hudak Sandy. Not at all that I can see in reviewing my posts. The journalists did better than go after Matthews themselves, they let Hudak do it and he did great in that respect in my opinion. I took the column as showing a Hudak strength. My own individual choice.


  6. Jon at 3:33pm – It just goes to show how several people can read the same article and get something completely different out of it. Both of us at least agree that what Hudak said was pro-active, although we use different terms to say that. I still stand by my view that the way the two journalists structured the article didn’t go after the Matthews enough. It was great that they printed what Hudak said, but they should have spoken to Matthews or her press secretary, rather than just parrot a radio interview.

    I’ll just leave it at that.


  7. The hospital in Vaughan -Greg Sorbara’s riding- also got the go-ahead while the Kincardine Emergency Room construction got shelved. Sense a pattern here? This goes on while the subsidies for “green” energy skate free from scrutiny.


  8. I see a pattern Paul. Just like the one we saw here when McGuinty closed the Bluewater Youth Detention Centre. Could it be payback for kicking the Liberals OUT??? Many think so.

    Sandy, there is a terrific op-ed up at Hudak’s website about wind energy that should have been sent out in wide release by his communications team. A terrific and strong piece. I’d be interested to know if many papers actually picked this up, and if his team is working to get that kind of message out? Very hard to tell sometimes.


  9. Jon — Since my interview with Hudak I have been on their communications media distribution list and I can tell you that the PCs send out several press releases and media advisories each and every day. And, most are just ignored by the MSM. Those that aren’t ignored are like this thread. They simply don’t hold the Liberal gov’t’s feet to the fire like they do the Conservative gov’t in Ottawa.

    I have also noticed that anything of importance on the PC website would have been distributed to the media first.


  10. Paul and Jon — At least one exception. The riding I live in covers Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls, all of Fort Erie (the municipality, not just the town). We re-elected Liberal Kim Craitor. FE lost their hospital a year ago. And, just last week, the slots at the FE race track were shut down — with 300 losing their jobs. And for what? The McGuinty clan think they can force gamblers to go Niagara Falls or stay in Toronto? Craitor is a bit of a maverick, so he was re-elected, albeit just barely. Seems like McGuinty has punished him for not toeing the party line because he definitely will not be re-elected again.

    Check out Craitor’s webpage, for example. Just like his re-elect signs last all, while the colour is deep red, no where is there a Liberal sign!!


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