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Elliot Lake needs its own MRI, says Jib Turner

And he says that while Mike Mantha is 'a nice guy who attends birthday parties' his ability to deliver is in question
Brent Sleightholm for ElliotLakeToday

Fifth-generation northern Ontario business leader Jib Turner is running to become the new MPP In Algoma Manitoulin provincial riding on Ontario election day, June 7.  

Turner sat down with ElliotLakeToday to explain why he and his leader PC leader Doug Ford need to be elected for Ontario, particularly northern Ontario, to go forward.

Turner named himself as one of several strong candidates on the northern Ontario Ford team including Vic Fideli In Nipissing, Ross Romano in Sault Ste. Marie, Norm Miller in Muskoka, Troy Crowder in Sudbury along with Brendan Postuma and Derek Parks in the two Thunder Bay ridings. He says they will have a strong voice and make a big difference in the Tory caucus at Queen’s Park, starting on June 8.

After seven years as a municipal councillor and former member of the Local Health Integration Network, Turner says he’s a strong advocate for more health care funding for Elliot Lake.  

He notes that on average there are six patient transfers each day between Elliot Lake and Sudbury so people can receive CAT scans or MRI imaging, and other procedures not available locally. 

Turner says we need to have these facilities in St. Joseph’s Hospital in Elliot Lake.  In the long run, he says that could actually save money.  He notes that when medical professionals use these tools as part of their training, it’s only natural they want to have access to this type equipment when they come to practice in Elliot Lake. He says nothing has been done in the past eight years to improve that.  

He notes, “We need more services in community hospitals,” adding “it’s part of a broader problem.”  

He says it’s unfair to expect the City of Elliot Lake to provide funding from the municipal tax base to try and attract more health care professionals as medical recruiter Caron Senese does now on behalf of Elliot Lake’s Family Health Team. He says the province needs to provide strong incentives to lure doctors and other medical professionals, such as education assistance and other merits or incentives. 

Turner says current NDP MPP Mike Mantha has failed to deliver for Algoma Manitoulin adding that, “nothing has happened to boost the riding in the past eight years.”  

He says, “Mike Mantha is known as a nice guy who attends birthday parties but not being part of government, he can’t deliver.”

At the present time there are approximately 50 names on a wait list of people in Elliot Lake who have no doctor and no doctor currently practicing in Elliot Lake is currently accepting new patients.  Turner says nurses practitioners are perfectly capable of performing pre-exams for conditions relating to diabetes.  

The Conservative platform promises a fully independent outside audit to determine who’s getting rich on tax dollars. They also want tax cuts, particularly for lower income earners, an end to fiscal mismanagement at Hydro One.  

Mr. Turner says there is also top heavy management in other electricity-related bureaucracies including the IESO.  

He says, “the key is to stop the bleeding.” And adds “the Green Energy Act voted for by both the Liberals and NDP ending up driving up the cost of electricity and provides surplus power the province is now selling at a loss to other jurisdictions.  He also says the program did not provide significant long term job production as it was predicted to do while it cancelled veto rights of local municipalities to stop solar or wind turbine projects in their own jurisdictions. Turner cited a wind project on Manitoulin Island as an example.  

Rail service in northern Ontario is another of Turner’s key concerns. He tells ElliotLakeToday the freight service between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie is so under-used now it is in danger of being scrapped entirely. He wants a renewed emphasis on rail freight services and facilities. If they are elected June 7, the New Democrats have promised 25 million dollars a year over three years to study ways of boosting both rail passenger and freight services along the Highway 17 corridor. The idea is to  get some truck traffic off the highways and provide passenger rail services across northern Ontario with links to other parts of the province. 

Turner says he should be elected to fight for the north. He says we need job efficiencies to replace years of inefficient Liberal hiring and spending programs. He notes a recent letter to the editor in the Toronto Star from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation states there has been a 40 increase in the hiring of Ontario civil servants during the Wynne years at Queen’s Park. The TFC says, on average, Ontario civil servants collect pay and benefits 13 percent higher the people with similar jobs in the private sector.     

Jib Turner was raised on Manitoulin Island and lives with his wife Debby in Little Current.  He is president of Turners of Little Current and owner of the Turner department store in Elliot Lake. He‘s in favour of promoting entrepreneurship in the north and controlling taxes and energy rates while attracting investment and creating jobs.