Hospital president to run for Liberals in Tory-held Etobicoke-Lakeshore

The Ontario Liberals are hoping a leading health-care expert will be just what the doctor ordered to help them win Etobicoke-Lakeshore in the June 2 election.

Lee Fairclough, president of St. Mary’s Hospital in Kitchener and a former vice-president at Health Quality Ontario, is entering the political arena.

Fairclough, who lives in Etobicoke, is hoping to unseat Progressive Conservative MPP Christine Hogarth, who was first elected in June 2018.

Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca said Monday that Fairclough’s expertise is need at Queen’s Park after four years of Premier Doug Ford being in office.

“As a hospital president, Lee saw the Ford Conservative failures in health care firsthand. She’s running to make sure those mistakes never happen again,” said Del Duca, referring to the two-year COVID-19 pandemic.

“Lee has shown the exact kind of strong, steady leadership in health care that Ontario Liberals will bring to Queen’s Park.”

Fairclough, an adjunct professor of health policy at the University of Toronto, said she’s “thrilled” to be running in her home community, which is also Ford’s power base.

“Doug Ford’s Conservatives’ approach to this pandemic has left many of us very concerned, including about the erosion of the public health system in favour of privatization,” she said.

“It isn’t right after seeing the extraordinary efforts on the front line to support care through this pandemic. After these two years leading a hospital, I decided it’s time to put my name forward to run with a party that believes in building more resilient publicly funded health care.”

The NDP candidate in Etobicoke-Lakeshore is Farheen Alim, a school teacher and community activist, while the Greens have yet to nominate a standard-bearer.

Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

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