Letters to the Editor -
Why did the MRI go to Gander? Well there are some very good reasons why.
First, our local MHAs failed to deliver the goods (MRI). Is this surprising? It should not be. Their track record offers little to be hopeful about. The AbitibiBowater mill closed for business on their watch.
Mr. Forsey, Mr. Hunter, and Ms. Sullivan, our central MHAs, could not even get one of themselves appointed to chair the task force set up to deal with the fallout from the mill closure. A guy from St. John's got it.
A second factor in Gander getting the MRI, is that for so long, 100 years, the mill provided for the town, so there was not much concern about competing with other towns.
Our current mayor, Mr. Barnes, is a prime example of the attitude too many of our politicians are infected with.
The mayor was quoted by www.cbcnews.ca, as stating, "Of course we are disappointed. But we are glad the minister has finally made it public where it's going, because this is good news for the patients, and that's what it is all about."
Well, obviously the mayor is confused. His mandate is to work for the people of Grand Falls-Windsor and acquire the MRI. His mandate does not include being concerned about the people of Gander and area. This willingness to meekly accept Gander as the winner does not bode well for Grand Falls-Windsor.
What should Mr. Barnes do now? Well, the least he should do is call in the three local MHAs and ask for an accounting of their efforts to secure the MRI. Then he should make public their responses. This is so, we the citizens, can hold them accountable. Now of course the Mayor should make public his own efforts, for the same reason.
A third factor in Gander's win is the Health Minister himself. He had the consultants' report in February. Why didn't he release the result then? The only reasonable answer seems to be, that, he was waiting to gauge the likely response from Grand Falls-Windsor, and when it became clear the local politicians would be pushovers, Mr. Wiseman made public the report.
Unfortunately, the first person to announce his candidacy for mayor of Grand Falls-Windsor seems to be, at least on this issue, not much different than Mayor Barnes.
Al Hawkins, in a letter to the editor of the Advertiser, June 8, 2009, goes to great lengths to point out flaws, as he perceives them, in the MRI report. This does no one any good. As a person wanting to represent the people of Grand Falls-Windsor, I would think Mr. Hawkins should not be afraid to point out those politicians responsible for the failure of securing the hospital its needed MRI. Then the public can hold them accountable. To argue over the contents of a report is a diversion and waste of time, a person can read into a report whatever he wants. Placement of the MRI was a political decision.
Finally, why is the MRI so important to Grand Falls-Windsor? The hospital is the biggest employer in town. Politicians need to promote and develop it. Having a MRI adds to the stature and prestige of a hospital and helps with its development.
Let's trust the hospital doesn't go the way of the mill. Our politicians have failed their first test regarding the hospital, hopefully, we can elect people who will reverse this trend.