Backlash boots Palin from hospital fundraising
By QMI AGENCY
Last Updated: 18th December 2009, 3:40pm
HAMILTON, Ont. - Sarah Palin has been given the boot as a celebrity fundraiser for hospitals in Hamilton, Ont., but she will come to town raise money for a local children’s charity instead.
Palin has brought the American health care debate to Canada and it is causing a storm of controversy as concerned hospital supporters have protested her appearance to raise money for two local institutions in April.
The former vice-presidential candidate was supposed to speak at a fund-raising event for the Juravinski Cancer Centre and St. Peter’s Hospital in Hamilton. But a backlash of negative publicity cancelled those plans.
The Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation received about 60 angry calls and e-mails from residents since the event was announced last week. About 10 people said they would not be donating to any event in which Palin has a role.
Palin is an out-spoken conservative critic of new public health care plans in the U.S. and is scornful of Canada’s universal health care system.
“It was a bit of mixed match with the politics of Sarah Palin matched with the needs of hospitals in Canada to raise money as publically funded institutions,” said Jeff Valletine, vice-president of communications for Hamilton Health Sciences.
“Individually I’m a bit surprised by the magnitude of the reaction but I’m not too surprised. Sarah Palin is a strong personality who brings out lots of opinions from lots of folks, so that’s to be expected,” he said.
Fortunately for children’s’ groups in Hamilton, local business leaders were able to re-direct the Palin appearance so that the Charity of Hope group would be the beneficiary of the event, said Sam Mercanti, chairman of the charity and CEO of Automotive Canada.
“It’s official - she’s going to come here and the monies raised will go towards the Charity of Hope,” Mercanti said.
The Charity of Hope raises funds for local kids on behalf of school boards, YMCAs, youth groups and other institutions that benefit children.
“My opinion is if she’s going to come to Hamilton and speak here, why not have her? You have to park the politics when it comes to helping people,” Mercanti said.
As recently as November, Palin was ambushed on her U.S. book tour by Canadian comedian Mary Walsh (disguised a conservative reporter Marg Delahunty ) who asked her about Canadian health care.
“Canada needs to dismantle its public health-care system and allow private enterprise to get involved and turn a profit,” the former Alaskan governor told Wash and her crew.
it's more likely that support for her was gonna be so strong it would embarass the liberal national health care interests of Canada imo