Local 439 President David McDougall submits a letter to the editor in response the economic impact of the closure of the Brockville Mental Health Centre.
Sad but predictable. That’s the only way to describe the Ottawa Recorder’s latest editorial on the state of affairs at the Brockville Psychiatric Hospital.
In the Recorder’s haste to run to the defense of MPP Bob Runciman, and why wouldn’t they given his propensity to hire on former Recorder employees, the columnist has missed point. It was Mr. Runciman and his government who presided over the devastation of the local economy. Under his watch Natural Resources was dismantled, jails closed and privatized, Ministry of Transportation sold off ( how are you enjoying the highways since) and the BPH downsized, slated for closure and sold to the Royal Ottawa group. So in the paper’s advocacy of the MPP, they purposely miss the linkage between his reign and the disappearance of decent paying jobs.
The Recorder itself is under siege, reduced to four days a week and printed in Ottawa. As you head towards a being no more than a weekly newsletter, your loyal support of the Tory “old boys” network is alarming. After all, there are only so many jobs available in government land. Regardless, your predictable endorsement of the local Conservative oligarchy has lead to some inaccuracies in your reasoning. Here are the facts.
It was Runciman’s government who slated the hospital for closure. It was Runciman’s government who sold it to the Ottawa based Royal Ottawa group. There are NO plans on the table for a female unit, besides why is it that the unit would be suitable for female treatment but not for psychiatric patients; and further why is a plan costing $26 million to eliminate jobs more palatable than the spending the $20 million it would cost to refurbish the Oxford unit thereby preserving jobs and much needed services?
The Recorder in its usual partisan way has let down its readers. Your conclusions are written as though the former editor never left for greener pastures in Mr. Runciman’s office. Wasn’t his former assistant also a Recorder employee at one point?
We at Local 439 hold a different view. Just look at the empty storefronts; the lost jobs; the exodus of talented youth to centres of opportunity. While Leeds- Grenville burns the Recorder fiddles, playing their familiar Tory tune. Yet, despite all of this, we will abide by your recommendation to work with Mr. Runciman, but only on realistic outcomes not on some pipedream that thus far has only lined the pocket of his consultant compatriot.
If we are to overcome as a community, we need the support of the media to print the truth, rather than genuflect at the altar of the key architect of our possible demise.
As for Mr O’Shaughnessy I appreciate his opinion and his participation in the democratic process. I invite him to attend our town hall meeting on Oct 1 2009.
On Behalf of the executive of OPSEU Local 439