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Provincial election our chance to encourage improved health care

The Report: April / May 2001 vol.22 num.2

by CINDY STEWART

With a throne speech and budget that spelled out a commitment to health care, the NDP government set the stage last month for an election campaign with a strong commitment to health care.

The timing couldn’t be better – for HSA members and for all British Columbians.

The four health care collective agreements covering health care workers in the province are currently being negotiated; hospitals around the province are sounding alarm bells about the shortage of health professionals; and all political parties have identified health care as a key issue in this election.

It is against this backdrop that I encourage all HSA members to ensure your voice is heard. We have an opportunity to contribute to the province-wide discussions currently going on about our health system. It is a unique opportunity we have as negotiations converge with an election window.

With health care being a clear focus of all the parties in the up-coming election, HSA has developed a resource package for stewards and members to use to engage candidates in discussions about health care and the critical shortages facing many professions in which HSA members work.

We really have very few opportunities to talk to prospective members of governments that make critical decisions about how our money is spent in delivering the services we provide to British Columbians. I encourage all members to take the opportunity an election presents to make sure your prospective representative in Victoria understands the issues that are important to you – as a valuable member of the health care team in your community – and as a British Columbian who counts on the system being there for you and your family.

As health science professionals, we have a very specific question for candidates running to represent us in Victoria: what are you going to do to address the critical shortage of health science professionals in BC’s health care system?

We believe part of the solution is through the collective bargaining process, and it takes a government commitment to ensure the health care system has the resources to pay health science professionals and other health care workers the wages and benefits they need to stay in their chosen profession. We know that, and it’s important our government hears that.

Please get involved in this election – whether it’s by running for a seat, working for the candidate of your choice, attending an all-candidates’ meeting to ask the questions to get informed about where the candidates stand on issues important to you, or casting a ballot on election day.

Every vote counts. Make sure yours is one of them.

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