Citizen-led referendum shows strong support for public healthcare

Thousands of Londoners are in favour of public health care.

That’s the message that the Ontario Health Coalition says comes from its citizen-led referendum on the issue, which included engaging more than 15,000 people in the city to ask for their opinions on the future of healthcare in the province.

“There’s a real swing in opinion here,” said London Health Coalition Chair Peter Bergmanis at a news conference on Tuesday. “[People in the province] are happy to get that chance to talk.”

The coalition says the province’s recent moves to send certain medical procedures to private clinics is a road to dismantling the public healthcare system in Ontario.

The referendum is non-binding, to the point that Premier Doug Ford has openly scoffed at the results. But Bergmanis says the Premier should be watching the issue closely.

“If he thinks we’re not credible, he can throw (a referendum) out to the public. He didn’t talk about it when he was getting elected last May,” Bergmanis said. “Call an election and we can talk about this with the public.”

The coalition says it interacted with more than 382,000 voters province-wide curing the referendum, and that number will likely grow once the final numbers are tallied in the coming days.

“I think (the Ford government) was hoping they wouldn’t have to talk about this. We’ve just created a hive of bees that Doug can’t eat,” said Bergmanis. “He’s got closures of ERs in a lot of conservative communities. I think their very worried about what can happen [leading up to the 2026 election].”

Opposition MPs will be introducing the results of the referendum at Queen’s Park, according to the coalition.

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