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Health-care march and rally happening Sept. 22 in Shelburne

Shelburne Roseway Hospital.
Shelburne Roseway Hospital. - Tina Comeau

SHELBURNE, NS – A march and rally to protest the health-care crisis in Shelburne County has been scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 22, starting at 2 p.m.

The march will start at Loyalist Plaza (Woodworkers Home Furniture) on Water Street, with participants making their way to the Community Centre on King Street, where the rally will be held. Participants are asked to be on site by 1:30 p.m.

“People can join anywhere along the route if they don’t feel they can walk that far or they can just meet at the community centre,” said Shelburne Mayor Karen Mattatall.

Organizers also are reaching out to people to come and share their stories about how the health-care crisis has impacted them or their families.

“Don’t just say there’s nothing we can do. If people work together there’s got to be something we can do,” said Mattatall, who is chairwoman of the Rural Health Care Crisis Working Group formed earlier this year. “We keep trying to hammer home (that) although this is very critical to Shelburne County, it is a provincial issue. We see the crisis everywhere. We do recognize this is a provincial crisis and we feel if we work together to raise the issue together they can’t ignore us.”

People from across the county are being asked to attend the march and rally and are encouraged to bring a kid-friendly sign about a personal health-care issue that has, or is, affecting them or a loved one. They can also choose from one of the slogans Save our Rural Healthcare or People over Politics.

There have been several health-care related protests in the province in recent months. A Provincial Day of Action is planned for Oct. 13 by the Rural Health Care Crisis Working Group. The working group also hopes to turn up the health-care heat on the provincial government when the House of Assembly reconvenes on Sept. 6 by lobbying MLAs and Opposition parties to speak out about the health-care crisis in Nova Scotia.

The working group is “really starting to gain momentum,” said Mattatall. “We are getting more people from across the province every week or so, there’s more people joining that group. Collectively we can make a difference if we work together.”

The working group has just recently launched a Facebook page, Save Our Rural Healthcare (https://www.facebook.com/SaveOurRuralHealthcare) to share updates on the ongoing health crisis, explore community-based solutions and advocate for changes that will resolve the health-care crisis in rural communities.

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