Veteran Harry Leslie Smith in Ontario hospital, as well wishes pour in from around the world
Second World War soldier in critical condition, his son says
A prominent British air force veteran turned writer and social activist is fighting for his life in a Belleville, Ont. hospital, while his son is blasting the province's healthcare system.
Harry Leslie Smith, 95, has spent the final years of his life writing about how future generations can avoid the difficulties he's lived though, while also touring several prominent refugee camps to draw attention to the conditions there.
However he's now at Belleville General Hospital in critical condition.
According to his son, John, who has been tweeting on his behalf, Smith has been in hospital following a fall. John Smith also sent a tweet saying his father had been stuck in an emergency room instead of an intensive care room, something he blames on "the politics of austerity" in this province.
24 hours in and Harry is still in emerg waiting for an ICU bed thanks to the politics of austerity in Ontario.—@Harryslaststand
Hospital spokesperson Catherine Walker told CBC Toronto on Wednesday morning that while Smith is currently in the emergency department, he is in the process of being admitted to the intensive care unit.
Ontario hospitals have struggled with overcrowding, despite government plans to end what's become known as "hallway healthcare."
John Smith continues to post regular updates on his father's health, some featuring Harry's wry humour.
Harry told his grandsons he'd rather have a shandy than the small amounts of water he's getting.—@Harryslaststand
Online, many, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, and the United Nations refugee agency, have used the hashtag #IStandWithHarry to send their best wishes.
Harry’s journey and courage have inspired so much love and kindness on this site, and in the real world too. Thank you for taking us along - we’re pulling for you. <a href="https://t.co/N6AVk9knaP">https://t.co/N6AVk9knaP</a>—@JustinTrudeau
He's stood <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WithRefugees?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WithRefugees</a> since he first saw them with his own eyes during WWII.<br><br>Now it's our turn to stand with him. Our thoughts are with <a href="https://twitter.com/Harryslaststand?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Harryslaststand</a> and his family.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IStandWithHarry?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#IStandWithHarry</a> <a href="https://t.co/34GCkP29oD">https://t.co/34GCkP29oD</a>—@Refugees
Smith has written for Canadian newspapers and spoken to school groups in Toronto in recent years. He's also started a podcast and gotten into political battles on Twitter, where he has upwards of 240,000 followers.