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Looking to keep caring for people

Hoskins calls being MPP a continuation of his work as an MD
By Tristan Carter

Originally published in our Forest Hill print edition(s).

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When he was a physician, Eric Hoskins knew that prescribing a pill wouldn’t cure his patients of all their problems.

Now as a politician, St. Paul’s Liberal MPP is focused on the social determinants of health, such as education and employment.

“I thought, after practising medicine for about 20 years, that I had gained enough experience and understanding of some of those bigger issues that I wanted to try and tackle those as well,” he said.

Hoskins has seen first-hand how social factors, particularly conflict, can impact health. He has traveled to war zones in Africa and the Middle East to help treat injured civilians and was once the president of War Child Canada.

He said that his experience as a doctor has helped him in public service.

“I know how to listen to people, identify problems and find solutions,” said Hoskins, who currently serves as minister of citizenship and immigration. “That’s what you do as a physician.

“I’ve sort of taken those same skills and knowledge with me into politics.”

With his medical background, Hoskins defended the Liberals’ health tax, crediting it with helping the Ontario government hire more nurses and reduce surgical wait times.

“Ontarians have seen the value of that investment,” said Hoskins adding that none of the parties are proposing to repeal the tax.

However, Hoskins said he was worried about the Tories getting rid of the Ontario’s investment in clean energy.

“The Green Energy Act has already created 20,000 jobs and $20 billion of investment,” he said. “The Conservatives want to scrap many of our environmental or green energy programs, which are not only creating jobs but are creating a cleaner environment and sustainable energy system.”

Hoskins, who won the St. Paul’s seat in a 2009 byelection following the resignation of Michael Bryant, will face Progressive Conservative candidate Christine McGirr and David Hynes of the NDP in the upcoming election.

Although the Liberals lost several seats in Toronto during the federal election Hoskins said he doesn’t think his constituents want a Tory government at Queen’s Park.

“One of the things that I’ve heard regularly from the residents of St. Paul’s is a deep concern about what it would mean if all three levels of government were represented by Conservatives,” said Hoskins.

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