The funny thing about our view of politics is we all say we want a different kind of politician, yet we continue to elect candidates confined to party platforms that are often thin on fresh initiatives. As a result, independent candidates haven’t had much fortune in elections at any level in Canada.
Green, an alternative-medicine doctor who has advised the White House on its reform of the U.S. health-care system, announced his candidacy today for the Ontario Provincial election on October 6. He chose to run as an Independent because “when you are a member of a party, you have to vote the way the party wants you to, and that’s not always in the best interest of your constituents.”
On his website, www.drjerrygreen.wordpress.com, Green lists his election platforms, which are focused on reforming the health-care system. He says without substantial changes to the system, the province faces fiscal insolvency. Under his plan, patients will have zero wait times for surgeries, emergency-room procedures and even routine physician visits. “Most people think that’s unlikely, that it’s impossible for us to have zero wait times. But we’ve been conditioned to think that way. This concept of wait times for medical procedures is fairly new. In the early years of my career, we didn’t have wait times,” Green says.
His plan includes licensing more doctors, including some of the estimated 4,000 internationally trained medical doctors (IMDs) who reside in Ontario but face steep obstacles in order to practice. Green says the provincial government is legally obligated to provide an adequate number of doctors to meet the needs of the citizens and says he will demand Queen’s Park do so if he’s elected.
“I don’t think a lot of people understand that the government is breaking the law by not giving us enough doctors. That’s part of the health-care legislation in the province,” says Green, who worked with Jack Layton and the NDP on getting the addition of more foreign-trained doctors onto that party’s federal election platform.
Although this is his first time as a candidate, Green has been involved in Toronto politics for many years. He has worked on several election campaigns and also teamed with Liberal MPP Monte Kwinter (York Centre) on an amendment to Ontario’s Medicine Act that allowed alternative forms of cancer treatment to be used legally in the province. Green had his medical licence revoked in 1987 by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) for his use of alternative cancer treatments that have since been adopted in this province and nationwide.
“I was critical of the College and they took away my licence for giving patients in Ontario another form of treatment that has subsequently been proven to be effective in fighting disease,” Green told me shortly after announcing his candidacy. He said none of the patients he treated have been harmed with his alternative practice. “Quite the contrary, in fact. They’ve been helped and the bill that Monte Kwinter put forward and helped become legislation now makes the alternative treatments legal.”
Green has launched an $11.5-million lawsuit against the College, which oversees the licensing of physicians in the province. He’s also one of the leaders of the advocacy group the Association of International Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (AIPSO). [His crusade was reported in an earlier article on this site.]
In 1968, he spearheaded the opening of Toronto’s first community health centre at 64 Augusta Avenue. Having been born in the city and raised in Eglinton-Lawrence, Green is eager to begin campaigning in the riding. He plans to participate in candidates’ debates and hopes to convince voters he is a viable alternative to the two front-runners. Colle — who was involved in a scandal for doling out large amounts of dollars to groups in the riding — and Conservative candidate and former mayoral hopeful Rocco Rossi appear at the outset to be Eglinton-Lawrence’s top contenders.
Green, though, should receive attention for his work with health-care reform and his stance that he is the kind of independent-minded politician that people actually say they want to represent them.