I write to you today because words are not enough to incite action in my home province of British Columbia. I’m sure the threat of E.R. closures are a popular theme of late. Here in B.C. it is epic in scope and tragic in results.
Health ‘authorities’ in this province have decimated rural health care. Payment structures are so convoluted that many Dr.s & health professionals are opting out of rural practice, and why not? Would you do your job if you had to wait to get paid?
Bear in mind these people aren’t serving coffee, they’re saving lives and alleviating pain & distress. Our hospitals (the remaining ones at least) are over run with their own townspeople on top of the influx from outlying communities who are no longer valued enough to get E.R. coverage. I find this odd because the Canadian Constitution has made specific reference to this very situation.
EQUALIZATION AND REGIONAL DISPARITIES
Marginal note: Commitment to promote equal opportunities
36. (1) Without altering the legislative authority of Parliament or of the provincial legislatures, or the rights of any of them with respect to the exercise of their legislative authority, Parliament and the legislatures, together with the government of Canada and the provincial governments, are committed to
(a) promoting equal opportunities for the well-being of Canadians;
(b) furthering economic development to reduce disparity in opportunities; and
(c) providing essential public services of reasonable quality to all Canadians.
Please see (C) for effect. As it stands my understanding is that closing an essential service is against the constitution of this country and therefore, illegal. Please clarify this for me & all of us in B.C. I know it to be true. Just looking for a spine in government, somewhere, anywhere! It is embarrassing to see such callous disregard for the citizens of B.C. and all of Canada.
In British Columbia the essential service issue is so hidden, the only time it can ever be acknowledged is during a labour dispute. That is happening now, and wouldn’t you know it, just in time for provincial elections next year.
Unlike others, I don’t see this as a political problem. Mainly because if anyone has an accident, when medical services are finally rendered, political affiliations are never part of the remedy. That is what’s required in times of strife isn’t it? A remedy.
We are formally requesting third party intervention. Let’s try to envision what that would look like, shall we?
Should the federal government deem our B.C. government too incompetent to manage the health of its own citizens (and this is clearly the case) how would they rectify the situation? Will the federal government send us military Dr.s ‘til the crisis is fixed? Will they move into the health authorities offices and give the ineffectual bean counters an unceremonious boot to the curb? Will the federal government fight for its western citizens because the province has given in to the creature they share the public trough with? Will the people of B.C. be treated to the spectacle of the province & country scrapping over a medical budget meant for the people?
Again, I say, this province’s ‘health authorities’ has let down rural residents, slashed essential services, ignored real pleas for help and disregarded not only their provincial masters but thumbed their collective noses at the constitution of Canada.
My request of you is to investigate this mess with all the power the federal government can muster. Believe me when I say we’d rather have the federal government at this point because we’ve been abandoned by our provincial government. I’d like to say ‘leaders’ but in order to retain that handle you ought to at least be ‘on the job’.
Looking forward to your prompt, written response and more importantly, your solutions.
Darrell Dobie, Princeton
P.S. When I say ‘We are requesting’ I’m referring to the thousands of British Columbians at risk due to the withdrawal of their E.R. services.