NDP calls for Liberals to fund PET scanner immediately
By: Jonathan Migneault - Sudbury Northern Life
Sudbury NDP byelection candidate Suzanne Shawbonquit, and Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas, the party's health critic, challenged the Liberals to fund a PET scanner for Sudbury at a press conference outside the Northeast Cancer Centre Monday morning. Photo by Jonathan Migneault.
Sudbury NDP byelection candidate Suzanne Shawbonquit, and Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas, the party's health critic, challenged the Liberals to fund a PET scanner for Sudbury Monday.
“We are challenging the Liberal government to cut us a cheque today, to bring a PET scanner to Sudbury,” Shawbonquit said outside the Northeast Cancer Centre Monday morning.
“Glenn Thibeault is making promises about the PET scanner in Sudbury, but the premier and the minister of health have thrown cold water all over it,” she said. “That's the kind of failed leadership Sudbury can expect from the Liberals.”
The Sam Bruno PET Steering Committee started to raise funds to bring a positron emission tomography scanner to Sudbury in 2010.
The fund has raised $650,000 so far, but a PET scanner costs nearly $4 million.
The northeast is the only region in the province without a PET scanner, which is used in clinical oncology, to help detect brain diseases, such as various types of dementia, and heart disease. It is also an important research tool to map normal brain and heart functions.
Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins said he would trust the province's PET steering committee – made up of medical experts familiar with the technology – to determine whether a scanner would be appropriate for Sudbury.
But Gélinas said Hoskins should make that decision, and added none of the members of the PET steering committee are from Northern Ontario.
When asked about Liberal byelection candidate Glenn Thibeault's commitment to a PET scanner for Sudbury on the campaign trail, Gélinas said he would have to toe the party line if elected.
“Someone from the opposition is free to speak for the city they represent,” she said. “I will make sure I shame them into stepping aside and doing the right thing.”