Ontario’s provincial party leaders debated in front over 100 municipal leaders today in Parry Sound.

The debate was hosted by the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities. Doug Ford, Andrea Horwath, and Kathleen Wynne addressed the underfunding of local hospitals and layoffs of front-line health care workers in northern Ontario.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath said “Every community is different and we need to fund our hospitals with that in mind. Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne argued that “Decisions need to be made locally on how the health care system can deliver the best care, the highest quality healthcare is accessible as close to home as possible.”  PC leader Doug Ford countered with “Relief is on its way, we will create 15,000 new long-term care beds in the first year. I won’t get rid of nurses, as Kathleen Wynne has.”

The mining industry was a major topic of discussion. Doug Ford says NDP and Liberals are the same, they have to please their extremist, environmentalist friends. Wynne says the government needs to find the right balance, and Ford will bulldoze his way in without any concern on environmental impact.   Horwath defended Ford’s attack on candidate Ramsey Hart.  She said environmentalists have made mines more sustainable with their activism.

Other topics debated were cuts to the Ontario Northlander train service, expanding broadband internet, hydro costs and the state of the northern economy.