Dude, Where's My Province?

Last modified on August 17th, 2009

Ok seriously. What the hell is going on in our province? First, Gordon Campbell springs the Harmonized Sales Tax on everyone, saying it will create jobs and somehow help the economy. I obviously voiced my concerns over that move, especially since the public seemed to be caught completely off-guard with the whole decision.

As we all know, the 2010 Olympics are just on the horizon. We also know that several cruise ship lines recently pulled out of Vancouver since it’s a more expensive destination than surrounding ports, such as Seattle. Given how much money tourism generates in BC, you’d think it would be a vital industry to preserve. Well, today the government announced that Tourism BC is being shut down, and somehow merged into the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Art:

The government thinks the decision will save money and improve the co-ordination of marketing campaigns. But NDP tourism critic Spencer Herbert believes it’s retribution for the tourism industry’s criticism of the government, “I think this is a big attack, in a sense, on the tourism industry. They are coming after them because they have been speaking out against the HST.” Herbert adds, “It’s a good way for the government to neuter the independents of the file and to get rid of the best advocates for tourism.”

And if that wasn’t enough, the rumor mill is flying with impending cuts to the health-care budget in BC. Given how strained the current system is, and the obvious negative affect of health-care slashes in the past, it’s really ludicrous that health care budget cuts are even on the table:

The Fraser Health Authority will cut elective surgeries by 10 to 15 per cent, place a cap on MRI procedures and reduce management positions in an effort to meet a budget shortfall of up to $160-million that the opposition alleges was hidden from the public during the last provincial election.

The region plans to balance its budget by cutting back-room costs and slashing $15-million in front line services such as surgeries, president and chief executive officer Nigel Murray said.

“Cost growth in the health sector is fairly relentless,” Dr. Murray said. “Yes, we are facing significant budget challenges.”

The FHA is the province’s fastest-growing and most populous health region. B.C.’s six health authorities face a $360-million shortfall.

New Democrat Health Critic Adrian Dix said the Liberal government failed to increase funding at the same pace as inflation and staff costs. He said 6,000 to 9,000 surgeries will be put off by Fraser Health in the next year.

“These are all serious medically necessary surgeries [being cancelled]…it’s political incompetence, it’s misleading politics, and its political cowardice,” said Mr. Dix, who suspects vascular and thoracic will be among the services affected. “It means that people will be waiting longer and longer in pain.”

It’s really disheartening to see where this province is heading, and I think the decisions being made are once again short-sighted and will ultimately hurt everyone in this province. Having been through several surgeries this last year, and seen several family members sick and in the hospital, I really can’t imagine our health care system taking another beating, and am disappointed if the rumors are true in that area.