kingston & the islands' NDP Blog

Monday, December 12, 2005

Rob & the NDP on mental health

Over the weekend, Rob stopped by the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario's local chapter here in Kingston. The Schizophrenia Society is a great resource both for people with schizophrenia and for their families. They're also strong advocates at Queen's Park and contribute generously to schizophrenia research. The issues surrounding mental illness are quite close to Rob's heart. In his role as Manager of Kingston Co-Operative Homes, he's helped out a number of tenants who are living with mental illness. Folks at the Schizophrenia Society were quite concerned about the inadequate funding for mental health, including the lack of treatment for mentally ill inmates. Kingstonians are well aware of this issue. A recent article in the Whig-Standard quoted Correctional Investigator of Canada Howard Sapers as saying, "Canadian prisons have become warehouses for the mentally ill, who are often left to languish in solitary confinement instead of receiving treatment. He also notes that the number of federal inmates with mental health problems has more than doubled in the last decade but that care has deteriorated woefully during this period." This affects not only the inmates, but also both the guards in our community who are working with prisoners struggling with mental health problems, and the families of the inmates. The NDP's stand on this and other health care funding issues is crystal clear. Restore the transfer payments to the provinces, with mechanisms to make sure that health care stays public. The Liberals, on the other hand, took $25 billion out of health and social transfers, and flat out refused to adopt NDP proposals to keep US-style privatization out of Canada.


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