Upon visiting many physicians’ offices in this province, patients are greeted with an ominous warning from the B.C. Medical Association. One large poster features eight NDP MLAs, including Premier Michael Harcourt cautioning, with bold red lettering, cautioning “Known health risk in your area.” It states, “These NDP MLAs voted for Bill 71, the new law that rations health care services and limits your access to medical treatment. This action represents a source or worry to all British Columbians. These politicians should be avoided, particularly around election time.
While premier Harcourt lurked in the shadows, a safe distance from direct confrontation, the NDP forged full speed ahead, ignoring lofty campaign promises of government, local input and consensus.
Last March, while concern about fetal farming was hitting the news, the provincial NDP government chose to announce that it would make abortion a priority by funding independent abortion clinics and insisting that 33 additional hospitals perform the procedure. All this in B.C., the province with the highest abortion rate in the nation!
At the beginning of February, the government announced sweeping changes to healthcare. Long unable to influence democratically-elected hospital boards, it announced these boards would be disbanded in favour of community health councils. Health Minister Elizabeth Cull, appearing on an open-line programme to promote the latest agenda, was asked to explain why these new councils may only be one third elected by locals. The open-line host noted that such council could become NDP dominated, thus promoting its policy.
Cull defended the appointments stating, “The democratic system hasn’t done well representing the interests of minorities.” Vancouver Province columnist Brian Kieran who has at time ridiculed the pro-life cause, finally woke up.
“Perhaps she means that democracy hasn’t always served the ambitions of the special interest groups so precious to the abortion clinics in every town and hamlet. Perhaps she means democracy hasn’t managed to help her silence the annoying vocal minority that democracy hasn’t seen fit to help her crush the power of the doctors.” He wrote.
Cull forged ahead undaunted. On February 11, a leaked government memo found its way into the media. The provincial government had decided to close Shaughnessy Hospital in Vancouver. Reaction was swift and furious. Carmela Allevato, executive director of the Hospital Employees Union, said the move would affect 1,300 full-time and casual HEU members employed at Shaughnessy.
Four days later, an ad from the medical staff of Shaughnessy Hospital appeared in her morning newspapers. It stated “the government’s decision was made unilaterally and irresponsibly without consultation with the hospital administration, the physicians, the health workers, the community leaders, or most importantly with you, the patients”
It went in to note that Shaughnessy has provided quality health-care services to the Vancouver community for decades. The government had just completed a $13 million renovation there, including a new Spinal Cord Unit, Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Department Operating Rooms and Women’s Health Centre. There was also a great concern about critically-ill maternity patients at Grace Hospital who required the ICU services provided by Shaughnessy.
However, time did not permit a reply. The same morning, the NDP disbanded the board an announced the hospital would be closed.
Every day more and more doctors are opting out of the medicare and many are opting out of B.C., fearing for the future of a profession in a province where our provincial NDP is now jokingly referred to as the non democratic party.
Those who were concerned about the NDP’s abortion policies are not surprised at its ongoing agenda. However, it comes as a great surprise to those who did not understand that when you diminish the rights of one, you diminish the rights of all. Somehow, even they are beginning to realize that in British Columbia being human is no criteria for special treatment.