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Mike Harris

Born in Toronto in 1945, Michael Deane Harris was a teacher and businessman before entering politics as a North Bay school board trustee in 1975, and serving as chair from 1977 to 1981. In 1981, Harris joined the Ontario legislature as the Progressive Conservative for Nipissing, representing the riding until 2002. A successful Opposition critic, Harris won the leadership of his party in May 1990 and in 1995 became Premier of Ontario, winning 82 of 130 seats. As Premier, Harris implemented his “common-sense revolution” by lowering taxes, reducing government staff, cutting social spending and closing hospitals. His revolution led to protests and the Ontario “days of protest,” but Harris ignored his critics, winning a second majority in June 1999. The Ontario Health Services Restructuring Commission report, Looking Back, Looking Forward: A Legacy Report (2000), provided a blueprint for hospital closures but also called for outcome and performance measures, and for provincial funding for home care and long-term care. To fund such reforms, Harris supported privatization of some services unless federal transfer payments increased, which contributed to growing public concern about the future of medicare in Ontario. Harris ended his term in office in 2002.

Photo: Buttons like this one were worn at rallies against the health care policy of Ontario’s premier Mike Harris after his election in 1995.

Buttons like this one were worn at rallies against the health care policy of Ontario’s premier Mike Harris after his election in 1995.
Courtesy of the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre

Transcription:
Stop the Harris Health Care Cuts!
Ontario Health Coalition




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    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010