The hard work by a local dental hygienist in helping people get the help they need with dental care was applauded recently in Chatham.
Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath toured Bright Smiles Community Dental Hygiene in Chatham and spoke with owner and dental hygienist Christine Fairbairn about the need for the NDP’s Dental Care for Everyone plan.
“Christine is doing amazing work here in Chatham,” said Horwath. “She saw the need for dental care for those who don’t have coverage, and she is doing her best to fill that need by offering community days, where people can come into the clinic and get a free cleaning.
“What Christine is doing is wonderful – but it’s shameful that it has come to this in Ontario. No one should have to rely on charity for basic medical needs like dental cleanings. We can, and we will do better for Ontario families. The NDP’s Dental Care for Everyone plan will mean no one will ever have to put off having their child’s cavity filled because money is tight.”
Horwath spoke with one of Fairbairn’s patients, Justin Hayes, in the waiting room at Bright Smiles. He told her about his daughter – who needs five cavities filled – and about how he just can’t afford the procedure.
“It’s so hard for me and my wife Amie to watch our daughter go through this. We try hard to make sure the kids have everything they need, but right now that’s just not possible. Andrea’s plan would mean an end to the terrible stress we feel every time the kids need medicine, a check-up at the dentist, or a filling.”
Fairbairn, who gives her time to various community organizations to offer free dental cleaning and assessment, said it is important that the people who can’t afford dental care have access to treatment for their overall health and for self-esteem so they can put their best smile forward when in pubic and when job searching.
Horwath said her party’s Dental Care for Everyone plan will publicly fund dental coverage for millions of people, including those on social assistance and seniors who don’t have retirement benefits. It will also create a minimum standard for dental plans that will apply to all employers — which can be fulfilled through a new publicly administered and affordable Ontario Benefits option, or any comparable benefits plan. Horwath is also the only leader who has tabled a universal pharmacare plan, which would provide drug coverage for every Ontarian regardless of age, income or job status.
“For too long we’ve been choosing between Liberals who cut health care and Conservatives who do the same, and this time is no different – the Conservative leader has already promised $6.1 billion in new cuts,” said NDP candidate Jordan McGrail (Chatham-Kent-Leamington), who toured Bright Smiles with Horwath and NDP candidate Todd Case (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex).
“Chatham families don’t want cuts. We want a government who will offer us hope that things can be better.”
“Rural Ontarians deserve a government that has their back,” said Case. “Andrea will make sure that every person in Ontario can get the medication their doctor prescribes and go to the dentist without racking up credit card debt. That is definitely change for the better.”