Health Minister George Smitherman dismissed ``ridiculous" opposition claims today that he has been intimidating hospital administrators across Ontario to remain silent about potential service cuts.
Smitherman denied claims that he's "bullying" executives who fear having to close operating rooms or increase patient waiting lists to comply with a government order to eliminate budget deficits.
"Your bullying has created a climate of fear in Ontario hospitals," New Democrat Leader Howard Hampton charged in the legislature. "You and your government are pressuring hospitals to keep quiet about cuts to hospital services."
Smitherman acknowledged his desire to see hospitals balance their books, but waved off the clamour as little more than political rhetoric.
He went out of his way today to distance himself from the controversy surrounding the case of Cyndy DeGiusti, who resigned yesterday as a vice-president at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children after being quoted in a Toronto Star article about possible cuts at the world-renowned facility.