Wasn’t it just last fall when the provincial government stated there are no plans to replace Mills Memorial Hospital? Then just several weeks ago provincial finance minister Mike de Jong came to town to say that we will get a new hospital after all.
Why not Terry Lake, the Minister of Health? Well he is a lame duck since he is not running in the next election. There would be no political traction for him to do his job.
A number of people did lobby for this hospital and I respect them for that.
However, I did not take part in this endeavour. After having spent 50 years signing petitions, making representations to ministers, serving on advisory committees and sitting on joint boards and apprenticeship committees, I have finally come to the conclusion that the days are long gone when politicians would actually listen took to constituents and at times act in their interest.
That is unless you are an oil tycoon or a Chinese CEO. Otherwise you have no say even though they will establish some committee which will now be used to proclaim they did listen to the people.
So why the hospital announcement now? My guess is that the premier told her caucus members not say no to anything two months before an election and minister de Jong was dispatched.
So what does an announcement coming from a government in election mode mean? Very little. Remember the last election the BC Liberals announced that 11 LNG plants would be under construction or operation by now, creating 100,000 jobs.
The Prime Minister of Canada announced many times over during the 2015 election that Canadians would never be faced with a ‘first-past-the- post’ election again.
Now that he is elected, he changed his mind considering that a system that can give them a majority, with 38 per cent of the vote, is a good thing so to hell with the promises and the voters. Announcements are just announcements.
Just in case you are keeping track, this is the third time an announcement about a new hospital has been made during my time in Terrace.
This whole thing is way down the road and may be just in time for the next election when it can be used again.
I can see a dozen reasons that Christy Clark can come up with to delay or cancel this deal.
If Christy Clark should get re-elected and actually intend to build the new hospital, be careful what you wish for.
Kitimat got a new hospital, replacing a three-storey building with one that contains some doctors offices and operating room and 27 beds.
This provincial government seems to have the thing about number 27 which was also the number in their original plan for Terraceview.
Mills Memorial Hospital has always been a regional hospital although it’s never been built or funded like one, receiving patients from the Hazeltons to the Yukon border.
And unless the announced new hospital includes enough space and funding to be a regional hospital, we may end up with a nice new insufficient facility.