© Cory Hurley
John Ottenheimer speaks in Corner Brook.
John Ottenheimer is confident in both his ability to become the next leader of the Progressive Conservative party and ignite his team’s chances in the next general election.
The candidate for the party’s leadership was in Corner Brook on Thursday where he announced two key commitments to health care.
“This is a competitive race,” he said.
“I am very optimistic, and confident, that we are going to do very well.”
He has made several visits to the area since declaring his intention to run.
The St. John’s native and former cabinet minister said, if elected leader, he would seek the seat in Humber East that will be left vacant by the pending retirement of current Premier Tom Marshall.
Ottenheimer, who is in the race against Steve Kent and Paul Davis, says he is feeling confident as the Sept. 13 leadership convention approaches, professing “great success” at delegate meetings across the province.
He plans to run in Humber East immediately if successful in his quest to become leader.
At his Thursday press conference at the Glynmill Inn, seven people attended other than media.
Gerald Parsons, a representative of the West Coast Health Care Action Committee, asked Ottenheimer his plans for the new regional hospital in Corner Brook. As he has said before, he said he backs the commitments made by government in its entirety.
Ottenheimer also planned to meet with delegates in Port aux Basques Thursday afternoon before returning for further meetings in Corner Brook that evening.
He said the people of the province are supportive of government and its policies, but less supportive in the party itself.
He suggests that is a product of the instability of leadership.
Seniors, mental health priorities for Ottemheimer
A John Ottenheimer-led government would make seniors and mental health and addictions a priority within health care.
The leadership hopeful for the Progressive Conservative party announced commitments in those two areas during a visit to Corner Brook Thursday.
He says he will create a new department focused solely on the health and well-being of seniors in the province. It would be an immediate priority for him this fall.
Although there may be an opportunity to reconfigure the departmental structure governing this province, Ottenheimer said this new department would be well worth it if it adds to cabinet. He said 40 per cent of the population is of senior age, and that warrants priority focus.
This ministry would draw upon existing resources from other departments, structuring the efforts already underway. Its aim is to have seniors continue to live in their homes or with families as long as possible and staying active in their communities.
Through a multi-disciplinary approach, the department would address mental, physical and financial health of seniors.
“We must never forget that they are the builders of our province — the foundation on which we stand,” he said. “It is our duty to ensure our mothers and fathers live out their lives fully and with dignity.”
Ottenheimer also committed to better care for mental health and addictions.
He said it is an issue that affects some people personally, but everybody through its impacts on society.
Key areas of mental health, addictions
— Consolidate services for ease of accessibility
— Provide an exemplary standard of primary care
— Help patients through the continuum of their illness by listening to their concerns and providing full case management
— Remove stigmas from our communities and schools
— Support the justice system
— Replace aging infrastructure
— Create a mental health and addictions action plan
Source: John Ottenheimer
John Ottenheimer plans to run in Humber East immediately if successful in his quest to become the Progressive Conservative leader.
The St. John’s native and former cabinet minister revealed his plan in Corner Brook this morning following his announcement of two key commitments to healthcare.
Ottenheimer says he will create a new department focused solely on the health and well-being of seniors in the province. He said it would be an immediate priority for him this fall. He also committed to better care for mental health and addictions.
Current member for Humber East, Premier Tom Marshall, is set to retire after the new leader is determined. Current MHAs Steve Kent and Paul Davis are also in the race.