Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty was in town Thursday, waxing lyrical about health care during a speech to the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce.
But he still can’t find a few minutes to chat with a terminally ill woman — Lisa Nancarrow.
She’s an Ottawa woman who lives in his riding and who was denied out-of-province treatment.
She’s been trying to get him for weeks.
“I have not spoken to her directly,” McGuinty said to reporters.
Nancarrow, 34, has neurofibromatosis — a genetic disease causing tumours to grow around nerves.
“The fact is, she’s been in touch with my office on a fairly regular basis, and we’ve been in touch with her. It’s a very difficult situation, I understand that,” he said.
Meanwhile, McGuinty is calling on the federal government to work with the provinces to deliver a new long-term deal on health care.
“Our health care costs keep going up,” he said.
The feds recently committed to a 6 per cent increase in health transfers, but the province is also seeking a long-term commitment from Ottawa — which pays 23 per cent of Ontario’s health costs.
Addressing the needs of Ontario’s rapidly aging population, McGuinty said, “my favourite senior is my mom. She’s my hero.”
There are less than three years remaining in the existing 10-year federal health agreement, which expires in 2014.
“We need to get to it and the sooner, the better,” said McGuinty.
In the next 10 years, according to the premier,1.6 million Ontarians will turn 65, the traditional retirement age — twice as many people as between 1981 and 1991.